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Florida Panthers Want to Keep Penguins on the Ropes



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Sam Reinhart celebrates his shootout goal against the Penguins with Matthew Tkachuk and Evan Rodrigues on Jan. 26 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Florida Panthers know what it is like to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the NHL playoff race — and were in a the Pittsburgh Penguins spot at this time last season.

The Panthers will be trying to sweep the three-game season series in Pittsburgh tonight as the Penguins try and claw back into a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh has lost its past two games, are 3-4-3 in its past 10 games and sit seven points back of the Red Wings for the final wild-card spot.

The Penguins also would have to jump New Jersey, the Islanders and Capitals if they hope to avoid missing the playoffs for a second straight season.

“They have the emotional edge on us because they are seven points out,’’ coach Paul Maurice said, “but they have three games in hand. Every one of those guys are going to be wired to go. It will be physical tonight.”

The Panthers, one may remember, jumped Pittsburgh for the final wild-card spot last season.

This is the second meeting between the two teams in the past couple of weeks with their previous game being a contentious one, indeed.

Florida Panthers Keep Parkland Close to their Heart

Florida spent most of the game on the penalty kill after the team got a little spirited after Kris Letang hit captain Sasha Barkov away from the play — leading to skirmishes breaking out throughout the game.

Following the game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he thought the Panthers overreacted.

Regardless, The Penguins went just 1-for-8 on the power play but did tie the score at 2 with 42 seconds left on a goal from Evgeni Malkin. 

Florida won it 3-2 in the shootout.

Tonight’s game kicks off three games in four nights for the Panthers as they visit Buffalo on Thursday and play in Tampa on Saturday.

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“It’s the first game of a trip and you always want to get off to a good start,” Barkov said. “We know who we are playing and we need a good start, a good, solid 60-minute game. We are ready. They are very skilled, play very good offensively. They have elite players there. Every time you play them, it’s a good challenge. We are ready for the challenge.”

Matthew Tkachuk a Scoring ‘Animal’

— The Panthers will roll out the same lines they have had since the third period of their win Thursday against the Capitals.

Pittsburgh will run with 11 forwards and seven defensemen — including former Panthers’ prospect John Ludvig.

The starting goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky and Tristan Jarry.



  • When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: PPG Arena, Pittsburgh
  • TV/Streaming: TNT/HBO Max
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Local Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-135); Puck line (-1.5, +185); Over/Under 5.5 (-135/+110)
  • Season Series (Panthers Lead 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 3, Penguins 1 (Dec. 8). At Pittsburgh: Panthers 3, Penguins 2 (SO) Jan. 26; Wednesday.
  • Last Season: Penguins won 2-1
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Penguins lead 56-37-8, 4 ties
  • All-time Playoff Series: Florida d. Pittsburgh 4-3, 1996 Eastern Conference finals
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Buffalo, 7 p.m.


23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov// 13 Sam Reinhart

21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 17 Evan Rodrigues

12 Jonah Gadjovich // 82 Kevin Stenlund //94 Ryan Lomberg

42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad

77 Niko Mikkola // 62 Brandon Montour

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 7 Dmitry Kulikov

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

41 Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Josh Mahura, Steven Lorentz, Will Lockwood


59 Jake Guentzel // 87 Sidney Crosby // 17 Bryan Rust

19 Reilly Smith // 71 Evgeni Malkin // 18 Jesse Puljujarvi

10 Drew O’Connor // 20 Lars Eller // 67 Rickard Rakell

36 Colin White // 77 Jeff Carter

28 Marcus Pettersson // 58 Kris Letang

27 Ryan Graves // 65 Erik Karlsson

7 John Ludvig // 2 Chad Ruhwedel

73 P.O Joseph

35 Tristan Jarry

39 Alex Nedeljkovic

Penguins lines courtesy

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