Gameday #18: v. Florida Panthers

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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS v. Florida Panthers

Consol Energy Center, 7:00PM, Root Sports

Another team that the Pens haven’t played this year. Another game where I forgot to make a header for the pregame.

The biggest storyline running for tonight’s game, at least in Pittsburgh, is that last night the Panthers annihilated the Flyers at the Flyers’ home rink 5-2. If you actually watched the Flyers play the Pens on Wednesday this would not come as a surprise, the Flyers are really not a good team, they’re just so far inside the collective skulls of the Pens that the Pens ended up scoring three goals on themselves.

Coming into tonight’s game the Panthers are 5-7-4, 4th in the Southeast Division. They’re led by a rookie, Jonathan Huberdeau, who has 13 points this year, 4 of which came yesterday. Otherwise a lot of the guys who made the Cats so successful last year–Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, and Stephen Weiss–have failed to continue the trend. If they weren’t playing in such a porous division they might be one of the worst teams in the league.

The Pens are expected to roll with Fleury in net. We would bet diamonds to dollars that had Vokoun played well on Wednesday he would have played tonight. The Panthers are the team where he has the longest history and it would have been nice to see him get the nod here, but then again, he doesn’t deserve the start tonight. According to Seth Rorabaugh, Simon Despres and Dustin Jeffrey took the majority of the shifts in practice this morning and are expected to be in the lineup in favor of Joe Vitale and Robert Bortuzzo.

A couple of the Pens players have responded to Mike Milbury’s “crack addicts” comments about Sid and Geno, they’re actually pretty good. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Milbury’s time as the General Manager of the New York Islanders:

However, Milbury has also been criticized for the many decisions he made in which payroll or orders from upper management were not factors. Many young players and prospects that Milbury traded away went on to have distinguished careers, often eclipsing those of the players he received in return. He has traded away defensemen Zdeno CharaWade ReddenBryan BerardEric BrewerDarius Kasparaitis, and Bryan McCabe; goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Tommy Salo; as well as forwards Olli JokinenTodd BertuzziTim Connolly, and Raffi Torres. Milbury has also come under fire for his draft day decisions such as choosing Rick DiPietro first overall in2000 over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik, as well as his decision to include the 2001 second overall draft pick (Jason Spezza) as part of the Alexei Yashin trade.

Right this ship. Go Pens.

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