March 7, 2012; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) knocks Toronto Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski (84) off the puck during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

Penguins Take On The Panthers Tonight

The Pittsburgh Penguins take on The Florida Panthers Tonight at 7pm.     The Pens are only 6 points out of 1st place in the division and the Conference.    The Push for that spot is going to be difficult without the likes of Letang for any stretch of the season.     To make things worse, Paul Martin is ill and will be out tonight along with Engelland who will also not be playing tonight.

In response to that, Simon Despres will be playing tonight in the place of Martin but the Martin situation should only be temporary.      Simon Despres is young but is a more than capable fill in right now.     Fleury will be playing tonight which will help and the fact that the Pens got a boost from the news of the Captain coming back soon.     They will also need to get some scoring from the Malkin and Neal line.    James Neal has only 3 goals in his last 16 games, and Malkin has cooled as of late going 1 point behind Stamkos in the Scoring Trophy race.    Look for one of them or both to break out tonight.

As for the Panthers, they come into tonight’s game leading their division, but with 9 less points then the Penguins.    They are 4-5-1 in their last 10 and are 15-14-4 away.     They are led by Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann both hovering near 50 points and at least 20 goals each.   Stephen Weiss and defenseman  Brian Campbell have been great set up men for the Florida Panthers.      Out of all the division leaders, the Panthers have the worst goal differential and one of the worst overall goal differentials in the league.    They have given up 30 more goals than they have scored.

It’s A Hockey Night In Pittsburgh and the Puck drops at 7pm.

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Tags: Fleury Florida Panthers Malkin Neal Pittsburgh Penguins

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