Preview: Rangers @ Panthers, 1/2/16

Game #38
New York Rangers (21-13-4 / 46 PTS) @ Florida Panthers (21-12-4 / 46 PTS)
Saturday, January 2nd, 2016 – 7:00PM EST
BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL

Projected Line Combinations

Florida_Panthers.svg
11 Huberdeau – 16 Barkov – 68 Jagr L1 10 Miller – 16 Brassard – 36 Zuccarello
36 Jokinen – 21 Trocheck – 18 Smith L2 61 Nash – 21 Stepan – 19 Fast
73 Pirri – 17 MacKenzie – 48 Shaw L3 20 Kreider – 24 Lindberg – 96 Etem
42 Howden – 53 Knight – 86 Brickley L4 15 Glass – 28 Moore – 25 Stalberg
5Campbell – 44 Gudbranson D1 27 McDonagh – 5 Girardi
33 Mitchell – 6 Petrovic D2 18 Staal – 22 Boyle
Kulikov – Ekblad D3 93 Yandle – 8 Klein
1 Luongo – 35 Montoya G 30 Lundqvist – 32 Raanta
Thornton X Hayes, McIlrath
Bjugstad, Kampfer, Savard, Hodges INJ

Top 5 Scorers

Florida Panthers

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Jaromir Jagr 11 15 26
2. Jonathan Huberdeau 4 21 25
3. Aleksander Barkov 11 12 23
4. Jussi Jokinen 6 17 23
5. Vincent Trocheck 10 12 22

New York Rangers

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Mats Zuccarello 16 15 31
2. Derick Brassard 13 15 28
3. Rick Nash 12 14 26
4. Keith Yandle 1 19 20
5. J.T. Miller 8 11 19

Expected Starting Goaltenders

Florida Panthers

Name Record Save % GAA
Roberto Luongo 16-11-3 .926 2.16

New York Rangers

Name Record Save % GAA
Henrik Lundqvist 17-10-3 .921 2.49

Between the Lines

The Panthers will face the Rangers on Saturday for the 2nd time this season after losing in a 5-4 OT effort in late November. Florida is currently riding a 7-game winning streak which began against the Islanders on December 15th and have won 6 of their last 7 home games dating back to November 27th. The Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Tuesday thanks to the second straight 2-goal night for Aleksander Barkov, the second straight 2-assist game for Jonathan Huberdeau, and a goal from Jaromir Jagr. The pace of play was dictated mostly by the Panthers and the only Montreal goal came on the power play halfway through the 1st period. The Rangers are coming off a 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night for their 4th win in 13 December games.

Nick Bjugstad is very close to returning to the Panthers’ lineup after missing all of December with recurring migraines. We reported last week that the Panthers aiming for Bjugstad to potentially return this Tuesday or Saturday, however it seems he’ll be given one extra day off before facing his hometown team, the Minnesota Wild, on Sunday. Steven Kampfer participated in a team practice on Friday in a no-contact jersey since suffering a knee injury about two weeks ago. A return to the lineup for him is still unclear, although he could be somewhat close considering he is skating. Dale Tallon said Friday that Dave Bolland, who has been out for several weeks with “nagging injuries,” is still expected to return to the team sometime during the 2nd half of the season. Bolland was sent on a conditioning assignment in the AHL, but he was recalled by the Panthers after playing in just 2 games. He’s been scratched since and the team has yet to specify whether he is dealing with an upper- or lower-body injury as per usual.

Last Game Played

The Panthers faced the Canadiens on Tuesday night for their 37th game of the season and won 3-1 in regulation. You can find our recap by clicking here, and the NHL recap can be found below:

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