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Panthers need big effort to stay atop Atlantic

Florida needs at least one point against Toronto to stay in first place

by Mike Brophy / Correspondent

PANTHERS (44-25-9) at MAPLE LEAFS (28-39-11)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, TSN4, NHL.TV

TORONTO -- The Florida Panthers will try to maintain their lead atop the Atlantic Division when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

Florida, which clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday, is two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the division. If the Panthers lose in regulation and the Lightning beat the New York Islanders on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-F, MSG+, TVA Sports), the Panthers would slip behind the Lightning based on having fewer regulation/overtime wins (ROW) than the Lightning.

"We fight consistency a little bit like every team," Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We definitely need to bring our A-game because when we get to the playoffs that's what it's going to take to win. I want to win every game. It's nice to know you have an X [denoting a playoff berth] beside your team name. But it doesn't mean the job is done. It means there is a minor step we have completed and now we have to keep going."

The Panthers established a franchise record for most wins in a season (44) Saturday with a 4-3 victory against the Montreal Canadiens. Florida is one point shy of matching the franchise single-season record of 98 points set in 1999-2000. A victory in Toronto would be the Panthers' 700th win.

"We have to make sure we are playing real good and we want to finish as high in the standings as we can," coach Gerard Gallant said. "We need to be better than we were the last time we played the Maple Leafs (a 5-2 loss March 29). They really took control of that game."

The Maple Leafs will be without center Nazem Kadri, who was suspended four games by the NHL Department of Players Safety for cross-checking Luke Glendening of the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen - Nick Bjugstad - Reilly Smith

Jiri Hudler - Rocco Grimaldi - Teddy Purcell

Garrett Wilson - Derek MacKenzie - Quinton Howden

Brian Campbell - Aaron Ekblad

Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson

Jakub Kindl - Steven Kampfer

Al Montoya

Roberto Luongo

Injured: Vincent Trocheck (foot), Dave Bolland (lower body), Willie Mitchell (concussion)

Scratched: Greg McKegg, Alex Petrovic, Shawn Thornton


Tobias Lindberg - Tyler Bozak - Kasperi Kapanen

Colin Greening - William Nylander - PA Parenteau

Rich Clune - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Brooks Laich - Frederik Gauthier - Michael Grabner

Morgan Rielly - Martin Marincin

Jake Gardiner - Frank Corrado

Andrew Campbell - TJ Brennan

Jonathan Bernier

Garret Sparks

Injured: Leo Komarov (lower body), Peter Holland (upper body), Nikita Soshnikov (upper body), Matt Hunwick (sports hernia), James van Riemsdyk (foot), Joffrey Lupul (sports hernia), Stephane Robidas (knee), Viktor Loov (upper body), Milan Michalek (knee)

Scratched: None

Status report: Campbell will play his 999th NHL game Monday. … Thornton played the last two games but is scratched against the Maple Leafs. … Clune was called up from Toronto of the American Hockey League on Monday.

Who's hot: Huberdeau has six goals and eight points during an NHL career-high five-game point streak. He has eight goals and 16 points in 13 games. … Barkov has three goals and nine points during a five-game point streak. … Nylander had a goal and an assist against Detroit on Saturday.

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