Preview: Florida Panthers vs. Winnipeg Jets. Everyday The Stakes Get Bigger

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 3-5-0 (6 PTS.) vs. WINNIPEG JETS: 3-4-1 (7 PTS.)

Game Day Song: Roulette, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

The Florida Panthers are in Winnipeg tonight for game two of a four game road trip that has started off with grit, character, and a much needed come from behind win.  After being down for the count 3-1 against the Buffalo Sabres Sunday afternoon, the Panthers literally shut down the line of Tomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Cody Hodgson after the trio put the Sabres on top 3-1,  on their way to a 4-3 victory.  What was most impressive about the win was that the Panthers held the Sabres to only 10 shots on goal in the final 40 minutes making the job of Jose Theodore that much easier.  The lunch bucket style victory was a perfect example of what a road win should be as the Panthers simplified their game by woerking hard,minimizing their mistakes, and actually played some puck possession hockey.  All elements that lead to their success last season.

Tonight the Panthers will go for their third win in a row against a Winnipeg Jets team that has lost three in a row.  We all know these games can go one way or the other, but the Panthers would be doing themselves a huge favor if they can jump out to an early lead and quite the usually raucous crown of the MTS Center.  The effort that we’ve seen over the past two games has been a complete turnaround from the style of play previous to that for Florida.  Instead of standing around, missing passes, and making glaring mistakes, the Cats have regrouped, gone back to their old ways, and are beginning to play more as a team than a group of individuals. Brian Campbell who tied for second on the team in scoring summed it up best:

“We’re starting to come as a team a bit more now and have faith in coming back,” said Campbell, who had the go-ahead goal in the third Sunday. “Earlier in the season, we didn’t have a whole lot of faith and confidence. But now we’re starting to see our team develop.”

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Panthers’ Erik Gudbranson Hoping To Make Season Debut In Winnipeg

The Florida Panthers will hopefullyget a big boost tonight when second year defenceman Erik Gudbranson joins the team in Winnipeg, in hopes of making his season debut for the Panthers.  After suffering a shoulder injury in the off season, fans have been waiting with baited breathe for his return, and his presence will be a welcomed sight on the blue line.  With an injury to Ed Jovanovski, the Panthers during the past two games have been one injured defenceman away from another rookie call up.  Gudbranson solves that issue, meaning either Keaton Ellerby or Tyson Strachan will become the healthy scratch.

The addition of Gudbranson in the lineup will benefit the Panthers in a number of ways, most notably the physical edge that he brings.  Gudbranson’s career evolved last season, and as we all know his best moments came during the seven game playoff series against the New Jersey Devils.  Here is an interview of Erik at the end of last season:


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