Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m. EST  |  Arena: BB&T Center  |  TV: TSN4  |  Radio: SN 590

Game Day Quotes

Mike Babcock on the team’s excellent form in February:

I just think we’ve improved our depth. We’ve improved our depth through the development process with people from within. We added Tomas, but I think we’ve gotten better at the backend and up front. Our goaltending has been solid.  We like our hockey club.

We’ve got to play better than we did last night. We didn’t play fast enough. We didn’t execute good enough. But we’ve got to play better tonight. We’ve got a hungry team here. We’re excited about our opportunity.

Babcock on the emergence of Kasperi Kapanen and Travis Dermott as quality depth:

That’s what I was talking about. Kappy and [Dermott] have made a real difference. That’s what your farm team is about. It’s real important to leave those guys probably longer than people would like just because you’ve got to arrive and have confidence. It’s hard to make plays in the NHL. It’s so easy, when things don’t go well for you, to lose confidence. They’ve made an impact on our hockey club and given us depth and given us speed and given us the ability to get out of our own zone. Those are positive things for us for sure.

On the Panthers’ tendency to get out to good starts against the Leafs this year:

If you remember our two games against Florida, I think they were out to a 10-1 shot lead and a 9-1 shot lead. The first time we’re in here and they can be a little fluffy in here, but in our building, they were up 9-1 right away. They start fast. We’ve got to get off to a good start here tonight.

Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon on the Panthers’ quiet trade deadline:

We gave it our best shot on a couple of deals. We made some legitimately strong, solid offers. At the last minute, we were unable to get it done. It’s frustrating, but we protected a lot of our good, young assets. A lot of the teams wanted our top players. We weren’t willing to do that, but we were close on a couple of really good deals. That’s just the way it goes.

We are very satisfied with our young team and very excited about our future and the young players we have in our system, but we weren’t willing to give up our top prospects to get a deal that we thought was right for our team. We went down to the wire on a couple, but sometimes, deals fall through at the last minute. We were unwilling to give up our top prospects. That’s the bottom line.

We were buyers. We weren’t sellers. We were trying to improve ourselves for not only now but the long term. We thought that a couple of these deals we were involved in would do that for us. That’s just the way it goes. We have a good young team. We didn’t disrupt it and we didn’t give up our top assets going forward. All in all, we are in good shape. I like the position we are in with games in hand and a chance to make the playoffs with this young team. And we’ve maintained and kept all the top prospects that we have in our system.

Panthers head coach Bob Boughner on playing the Leafs in a back-to-back situation with his team rested:

We are waiting on them, but it doesn’t seem to matter this time of year. Everyone is playing so hard and every point matters. It’s no different for us. They’re a fast team and a team that likes to stretch it out a bit. We can’t let them in behind us. We’ve got to be good on our specials teams. They’re a good special teams team. For us, it’s about doing what we do best and concentrating on our start. We’ve had some good starts lately. Against a team that played last night, the start is important for us.

Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad on the team’s recent performance (7-3-0 in last 10) and the challenge against the Leafs:

We’re realizing that, when things go well, we know why. We’re playing to our identity. We are not trying to be too cute or anything. We know that when we are playing high-skill teams, we can’t get crazy. I think we’re starting to realize that and it’s starting to come together. [The Leafs] are a similar team to what we’ve seen in the past few games – highly skilled, highly disciplined. We’re going to have to match that as well.

Boughner on the team’s recent form:

I think our confidence is pretty solid. My job is to remind these guys how well we’re playing and what we’re doing well but also things we need to clean up, and there are definitely things we need to clean up. You can never be as detailed as you want to be defensively. There were some mistakes made the other night [versus Pittsburgh]. Toronto is coming in, and then New Jersey. We know that you aren’t going to score six goals every night. You’ve to be able to win those 3-2 and 2-1 games. That’s where we want to get to. We are going in the right direction, but we aren’t there yet.

Matchup Stats

GF/g3.23 (6th)2.93 (13th)
GA/g2.77 (13th)3.22 (26th)
PP%20.5% (14th)
19.4% (18th)
PK%83.8% (2nd)78.8% (22nd)
Shots/g31.7 (17th)34.5 (2nd)
Shots Against/g34.2 (29th)34.7 (30th)
5v5 CF%49.1% (19th)49.3% (18th)
5v5 SV%.928 (9th).917 (27th)
5v5 SH%9.3% (T-1st)7.1% (T-22nd)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

*We have added goal, assist, and point totals for each player below the lines. Total goals per line are indicated, too, as well as save percentage for goalies.

Marleau – Kadri – Marner
(65-20-14-34) – (63-23-21-44) – (65-17-36-53) Total: 60
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Brown
  (64-26-15-41) – (64-10-23-33) – (65-12-11-24)  Total: 48
Hyman – Plekanec – Nylander
  (65-11-21-32) – (61-6-18-24) – (65-14-34-48) Total: 31
Komarov – Moore – Kapanen
 (65-5-10-15) – (46-5-6-11) – (22-4-1-5)  Total: 14

Rielly – Hainsey
 (59-6-31-37) – (62-4-17-21) Total: 10
Gardiner – Zaitsev
 (65-4-36-40) – (47-4-7-11) Total: 8
Dermott – Carrick
(22-1-7-8) – (37-3-4-7) Total: 4

McElhinney (.932 sv%)
Andersen (.922 sv%)

Scratched: Martin, Leivo, Polak
Injured: Matthews

Florida Panthers Projected Lineup

Dadonov – Barkov – Bjugstad
  (51-18-23-41) – (58-20-38-58) – (59-11-20-31) Total: 49
Huberdeau – Trocheck – Vrbata
(59-18-37-55) – (59-24-31-55) – (38-5-8-13) Total: 47
McGinn – McCann – Mamin
  (53-9-8-17) – (46-6-10-16) – (9-1-0-1) Total: 16
Haley – Mackenzie – Sceviour
 (58-2-5-7) – (54-3-8-11) – (53-7-9-16) Total: 12

Yandle – Ekblad
 (59-6-32-38) – (59-12-12-24) Total: 18
Matheson – Pysyk
 (58-8-14-22) – (59-3-8-11) Total: 11
Weegar – Petrovic
 (37-1-4-5) – (48-1-7-8) Total: 2

Luongo (.926 sv%)
Reimer (.905 sv%)

Injured: Malgin