SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs went about their gameday morning a little differently on Sunday.
While the Panthers got a light skate in at FLA Live Arena, the Leafs stayed on Fort Lauderdale Beach and got some work in the sunshine.
To each their own.
For the Panthers, this will be their first home game in over a week following their Game 6 win against the Bruins last month — OK, April 28.
“It always gets pretty loud in here,” Carter Verhaeghe said. “They have been with us the whole year. It is great coming home.”
Since that 7-5 win over Boston, the Panthers won Game 7 in Boston then flew directly to Toronto where they took the opening two games of this best-of-7 series.
With the Panthers back in the comfort of home, can they keep that edge to their game?
“In our 9-game (playoff) series, the matchup game has not been prominent or important,” Paul Maurice said. “You tend to get a little more positive feedback at home, when you crack a (cross)bar or get a chance. You don’t feel as under siege as much as home. In the new NHL, the only advantage (at home) is the juice and maybe the momentum you feel after something good happens and you have the opportunity to sustain it.”
Said Verhaeghe: “We have had a lot of highs and lows, it has been a rollercoaster. But we have found peace with our gameplan and we’re going to stick with it.’’
The Panthers are expected to roll out the same lineup as they have the past few games what with Ryan Lomberg remaining out for the foreseeable future.
Nick Cousins remains on the second line with Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk, a line which has been causing the Leafs fits thus far in the series.
“Those two have taken their game to another level,” Cousins said. “I am on that line to play my game and really not complicate things.”
The Leafs will be without rookie Matthew Knies who sustained a concussion during the first period of Game 2 after getting hit by both Tkachuk and Bennett on separate occasions.
Knies will miss at least the next two games.
The starting goalies tonight: Sergei Bobrovsky and Ilya Samsonov.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (ATL2) AT FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 3 (Panthers Lead 2-0)
- When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV: TBS
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Maple Leafs Favored: Money Line (-130); Puck line (-1.5, +180); Over/Under 6.5 (-135/+115).
- Series: Florida favored -320/+250.
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: Florida 4, @Toronto 2; Game 2: Florida 3, @Toronto 2; Game 3: Sunday at Florida, 6:30 (TBS); Game 4: Wednesday at Florida, 7 (ESPN); Game 5*:Friday, May 12 at Toronto (TNT); Game 6*: Sunday, May 14 at Florida (TBA); Game 7*:May 16 at Toronto (TNT). (*) – If Necessary
- How They Got Here: Toronto d. Tampa Bay 4-2; Florida d. Boston 4-3
- Season Series (Toronto won 3-1): Maple Leafs 5, @Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17); @Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 2 (Mar. 23); Panthers 3, @Maple Leafs 2 OT (March 29); Maple Leafs 2, @Panthers 1 OT (April 10)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Toronto leads 48-36-7, 7 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
22 Zac Dalpe // 12 Eric Staal // 6 Colin White
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
34 Alex Lyon
Scratched: Mike Benning, Evan Fitzpatrick, Givani Smith, Casey Fitzgerald, Lucas Carlsson, Connor Bunnaman, Grigori Denisenko, Patrick Giles, Mack Guzda, Aleksi Heponiemi, Matt Kiersted, Santtu Kinnunen, John Ludvig, Calle Sjalin
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion), Ryan Lomberg (hand)
PROJECTED TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS LINEUP
58 Michael Bunting // 34 Auston Matthews // 16 Mitch Marner
19 Calle Jarnkrok // 91 John Tavares //88 William Nylander
15 Alexander Kerfoot // 90 Ryan O’Reilly // 52 Noel Acciari
24 Zach Auston-Reese // 64 David Kampf //28 Sam Lafferty
22 Jake McCabe // 78 T.J. Brodie
44 Morgan Reilly // 2 Luke Schenn
55 Mark Giordano // 37 Timothy Liljegren
35 Ilya Samsonov
60 Joseph Woll