As we head into the month of December and the season of miracles and giving, the Florida Panthers are hoping to receive an early holiday gift. They will be looking to come out of LA with a win when they visit the Staples Center on Thursday Dec 1.
Panthers fans will be in for a late night – 10:30 pm local puck drop time if your catching this game. I highly recommend catching the Kings/Panthers game. I think the Kings will give them a good test for several reasons.
Since the Kings are in the Western Conference and the Panthers do not face them often. This year they will face them twice this being the first encounter. The game will probably have a feeling out process for the first half of the first period. LA is in the highly competitive Pacific Division. They have 28 point to the Panthers 30 points. This 2 point differential right now has the Panthers 5th overall in the League and LA 14th in the league. That is how tight both the East and Western Conferences are.
Statistically these two teams are mirror images of each other. Florida will need to improve their 5 on 5 play as so far their special teams have been carrying them coupled with the Goal tending of Jose Theodore. Both teams are coming off of wins the Kings last win was over San Jose Sharks and Florida’s was over Carolina Hurricanes.
LA has a very stingy defense and should provide a good test for Florida’s skill players. Also it is very hard to game plan again the Kings as their coach Terry Murray like to switch up not only his lines but his defensive pairings as well.
In my opinion this will be a Goalie duel assuming Quick will go for LA and Theodore for the Cats. Kings goalie, Jonathan Quick with a stingy Save percentage of .933 and GAA 2.01 and Theodore with a Save percentage of .924 and a GAA 2.29 should be a defensive battle.
- Dustin Penner will remain out for the LA Kings and will still be on IR (hand injury). Out also will be Scott Parse (lower Body) and Alec Martinez (upper body)
- The Panthers will be without Matt Bradley (upper body), Scottie Upshall (hip) and Marcel Goc (Upper body).
- Also injured in Tuesdays game against the Hurricans was Dmitry Kulikov who got slashed by a skate in his leg.
- For those that saw Kris Versteeg get leveled in last nights game by Derek Joslin Brendan Shanahan reviewed the hit and there will be no fines or suspensions forthcoming for that hit.
- There is a good possibility Kris Versteeg will be out due to that hit but finally Mikael Samuelsson will be in for the Panthers.