CONSOL Energy Center
Sure, beating the Red Wings, Flyers and Devils feels nice, but it would be a huge mistake to assume that this team today is any less important. The Pens are five points ahead of the Lightning, with home-ice advantage at stake. The Pens are still four points behind the Flyers who have played one fewer game. The Panthers are in 14th place in the East, one point ahead of the Senators. Much like recent games against Ottawa and Edmonton, the Pens need to come into this game will killer instinct and take advantage of a bad team.
Know your enemy: Litter Box Cats
What they're saying about the Panthers:
The Panthers usually turn in strong late season performances against the Penguins, but the team is a bit of a disaster right now. The Penguins, for their part, are missing stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but haven't stopped winning games. They're currently seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference though they have four points on the third place Bostom Bruins and are only four points back from the Conference and Atlantic Division leading Philadelphia Flyers. They're spending the next several weeks without the services of one Matt Cooke, who was suspended until the second round of the playoffs for being a violent moron. Crosby won't be back for today's game, but the Panthers probably don't have much chance of winning. The best they can hope for is to not be embarrassed.
Season series: Penguins Lead 2-0
Last meeting: December 22, 2010 - Penguins Won 5-2
What we said in our recap:
Lose two straight, win two straight. The Pens bankrolled themselves with 12 straight wins, so now they can afford to drop a few and win them back. The Panthers came in playing some good hockey, but the Penguins took them out early. Before leaving with an injury, Brent Johnson played a hell of game. The Pens had a rough stretch in the second period, and Beej closed the door.
Afternoon games suck.
For the 10th season in a row, the Panthers are officially eliminated from the playoffs.
David Booth is questionable for today. He was hit in the throat with a puck during Friday's game.
Favorite Panthers-related Photoshop or gif:
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
James Neal - Mike Comrie - Alexei Kovalev
Pascal Dupuis - Max Talbot - Chris Conner
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Arron Asham
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Ben Lovejoy - Matt Niskanen
Panthers Lines from Empty Netters:
Sergei Samsonov - Stephen Weiss - Niclas Bergfors
David Booth - Marty Reasoner - Evgeny Dadonov
Patrick Rissmiller - Mike Santorelli - Michal Repik
Darcy Hordichuk - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier
Keaton Ellerby - Dmitry Kulikov
Alexander Sulzer - Mike Weaver
Jay Garrison - Joe Callahan
As much as it hurts to say, go Bruins.