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game preview

Panthers at Blues preview

Florida looking to gain ground in Atlantic; St. Louis can build lead in Central

by Louie Korac / Independent Correspondent

PANTHERS (34-26-8) at BLUES (41-18-10)



The Game

The Florida Panthers will try to gain ground on third place in the Atlantic Division when they face the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Monday.

The Panthers, who are coming off a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday but are 1-2-2 in their past five games, trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by three points and are also three points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

The Blues, who are playing the second of a back-to-back after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Sunday, are 9-1-0 in their past 10 games. St. Louis leads the Colorado Avalanche by two points for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.

The game was originally scheduled to be played Tuesday but was moved up so the Blues can play a rescheduled game on Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks, which was scheduled for Feb. 11 but was postponed after Jay Bouwmeester suffered a medical emergency in the first period.


Players to watch

Panthers forward Mike Hoffman has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) his past 10 games.

Blues center Brayden Schenn has nine points (five goals, four assists) during a seven-game point streak.


They said it

"Against this St. Louis team, they're fast, they're quick, they can make plays, they've got good patience with [the puck], they're active on the point with their defensemen." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville

"We understand where everybody's at in the standings and what's going on. You've got to just keep playing, you've got to keep winning." -- Blues coach Craig Berube


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Frank Vatrano 

Mike Hoffman -- Erik Haula -- Evgenii Dadonov

Dominic Toninato -- Lucas Wallmark -- Brett Connolly

Aleksi Saarela -- Noel Acciari -- Colton Sceviour 

MacKenzie Weegar -- Aaron Ekblad

Anton Stralman -- Mike Matheson

Keith Yandle -- Mark Pysyk 

Chris Driedger

Sam Montembeault

Scratched: Josh Brown

Injured: Sergei Bobrovsky (lower body), Brian Boyle (upper body), Dryden Hunt (lower body), Riley Stillman (upper body)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Sammy Blais

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Alexander Steen -- Robert Thomas -- Tyler Bozak 

Mackenzie MacEachern -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Ivan Barbashev

Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Marco Scandella -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Jordan Kyrou, Jacob de la Rose, Troy Brouwer

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Justin Faulk (upper body), Jay Bouwmeester (cardiac episode)


Status report

Stillman, a defenseman, was injured on Saturday and will not play. Saarela, a healthy scratch the past four games, will replace him and move Pysyk back to defense. ... Quenneville said Boyle, a center who has missed 18 games, will not play tonight but "we're counting on him on the trip." Florida plays at the Dallas Stars on Thursday. 


Stat pack

Barkov doesn't have a point in his past five games. ... Schwartz has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak. ... Binnington is 6-1-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and two shutouts his past seven starts.

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