At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Panthers

Tuesday, 01.26.2016 / 3:30 PM | Staff

The Florida Panthers are hoping to build on successive wins against the 2015 Stanley Cup finalists when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., ET; TSN4, FS-F).

Florida defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Friday and followed that with a 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. They are looking for a third straight win to complete a four-game homestand heading into the All-Star break.

"We don't overlook anyone," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant told the Miami Herald. "We're the Florida Panthers. We're in first place because we play well most nights. But any team in the League can beat you. Toronto is a good team.

"We had a great weekend. But hey, that's over with. It's going to be a battle and we have to be ready to take that game. Don't pack your bags for vacation just yet."

The Panthers (28-15-5) announced center Aleksander Barkov had signed a six-year contract extension. Financial terms of the contract were not released but the Miami Herald reported the full value of the contract to be $35.4 million.

"We are thrilled to sign Sasha [Barkov] to a multiyear contract," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "He is a highly-skilled, intelligent and dynamic young center that plays an exceptional game at both ends of the ice. Sasha is an important part of the foundation of our future and a cornerstone player who is continuing to develop into one of the League's elite centers."

Barkov, 20, has 12 goals and 30 points in 39 games this season and is a big reason the Panthers have a three-point lead in the Atlantic Division heading into Tuesday.

"I never thought about the contract," Barkov said. "When I signed the entry-level contract three years ago I was thinking only about the next game and just before [signing] this contract, I was thinking about the next game, the Toronto game tonight. But it's good to know I am going to be here for the next six years."

Florida has won 14 of its past 18 games (14-3-1).

"Here we go; we have 34 games left and every game is big starting Tuesday night," forward Derek MacKenzie said. "Simply put, we want to keep this going into the break and then roll with it coming out of it."

Toronto (17-20-9), which did not hold a morning skate, has lost seven of its past eight games and scored a total of 10 goals in that span.

Here are the projected lineups:


Shawn Matthias - Tyler Bozak - PA Parenteau

Michael Grabner - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Joffrey Lupul - Peter Holland - Nick Spaling

Daniel Winnik - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Jake Gardiner - Dion Phaneuf

Martin Marincin - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Injured: James van Riemsdyk (foot), Stephane Robidas (lower body)

Scratched: Frank Corrado, Josh Leivo, Rich Clune


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Reilly Smith

Quinton Howden - Nick Bjugstad - Logan Shaw

Corban Knight - Derek MacKenzie - Shawn Thornton

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Dmitry Kulikov - Aaron Ekblad

Steven Kampfer - Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Willie Mitchell (lower body), Dave Bolland (lower body)

Scratched: Brandon Pirri

Status report: Spaling was activated from injured reserve and will play for the first time since Dec. 17. ... Mitchell will miss his third straight game. … Pirri will be scratched for the third straight game.

Who's hot: Kadri has three points in four games. … Smith has goals in three straight games. … Luongo has allowed four goals in his past three games.

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