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About the Panthers - 03-27-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Panthers.

When and where: 1 p.m. Consol Energy Center.

TV: FSN Pittsburgh, Fox Sports Florida.

Record: 29-36-10, 68 points. The Panthers are in 14th place of the Eastern Conference and last place of the Southeast Division.

Leading Scorer: Stephen Weiss (right), 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists).

Last Game: 4-2 road loss to the Sabres Friday. Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves for the Panthers.

Last Game against the Penguins: 5-2 road loss, Dec. 22. Chris Kunitz had two assists for the Penguins.

Panthers Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Niclas Bergfors. He has 10 points in eight career games against the Penguins.

Ex-Penguins on the Panthers: Dale Tallon, general manager.

Ex-Panthers on the Penguins: Tom Fitzgerald, assistant to the general manager; Randy Sexton, assistant director of amateur scouting.

Useless Panthers Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Former Penguins forward Stu Barnes holds the Panthers' record for assists in a single playoff season with 10 in 1996.

Best Panthers Video We Could Find: Former Panthers defenseman (and Penguins prospect) Paul Laus was a thirsty man:

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Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (33-18-5, 2.30 GAA, .918 SV%) for the Penguins and Tomas Vokoun (21-28-5, 2.63 GAA, .920 SV%) for the Panthers.

Injuries: For the Penguins, goaltender Brent Johnson ("upper-body") and forward Mark Letestu (shoulder) are day to day. Forward Dustin Jeffrey ("lower body") is doubtful. Forwards Sidney Crosby (concussion), Nick Johnson (concussion), Evgeni Malkin (knee), and defenseman Brooks Orpik (finger) are on injured reserve. For the Panthers, forward David Booth (throat) is probable. Forwards Shawn Matthias (ankle) and Jack Skille (ankle) are questionable.  Forward Scott Timmins (concussion) is out. Forwards Byron Bitz (sports hernia), Mark Cullen (achilles tendon) and Rostilsav Olesz ("lower body") are on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins did not practice with a full crew yesterday. With a few bodies moving in an out of the lineup, this is an educated guess at what their primary lines and defensive pairings will look like:

James Neal - Maxime Talbot - Alex Kovalev
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Pascal Dupuis - Craig Adams - Chris Conner
Mike Comrie - Mike Rupp - Arron Asham

Kris Letang - Brooks Orpik
Zbynek Michalek - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Ben Lovejoy

-Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said his lineup would be the same as Friday's game against the Sabres. Their primary lines and defensive pairings in that game were:

Sergei Samsonov - Stephen Weiss - Niclas Bergfors
David Booth - Marty Reasoner - Evgeny Dadonov
Patrick Rissmiller - Mike Santorelli - Michal Repik
Darcy Hordichuk - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier

Keaton Ellerby - Dmitry Kulikov
Alexander Sulzer - Mike Weaver
Jay Garrison - Joe Callahan

Notes:

-Matt Cooke is serving a suspension.

-The Penguins clinched a playoff berth last night.

-This Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy line is working out pretty well... again.

-Expect to see some Free Candy today.

-Kovalev has 199 career assists and 349 career points with the Penguins.

-Staal has 99 career assists.

-Letang has 98 career assists.

-Dupuis has 146 career assists.

-The Penguins will be wearing their "dreaded" blue throwback jerseys from the 2008 Winter Classic today. This will be the final time they will wear them for the time being. The team plans on adopting this season's Winter Classic jersey as the regular third jersey next season.

-The Penguins will hold their annual awards show prior to the game.

-The Panthers have been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. They are the first team in NHL history to miss the playoffs for ten consecutives seasons.

-Rissmiller was recalled from Rochester of the AHL.

-Reasoner has played in 699 career games and has scored 96 career goals.

-Bergfors has 47 career assists.

-Our live blog begins at approximately noon. Please tune in.

(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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