Florida center and leading scorer Nick Bjugstad will miss tonight’s crucial tilt against in-state rival Tampa Bay with a lower-body injury, the Panthers announced.
Bjugstad, who has 24 goals and 43 points this season, has been dealing with ailment for a while, per head coach Gerard Gallant, and was only able to play 11:27 in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout win over Boston.
With Bjugstad out, it looks as though Vincent Trocheck will draw into the Florida lineup for the first time since Mar. 19, when he played 13:29 in a 3-1 win over Detroit.
The Panthers really need a win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. They go into Tuesday’s action five points back of Ottawa for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and are four back of ninth-place Boston. Florida has been good of late, however, winning five of its last seven, and is 1-0-1 against the Lightning this season.
The Boston Bruins should be feeling the pressure right about now.
They were unable to get two points against the Florida Panthers, losing 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday. And, just a few minutes before that result became a final, the Ottawa Senators beat the Toronto Maple Leafs to inch even closer to the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, currently held precariously by the Bruins.
Brandon Pirri scored the winner in the shootout, while Roberto Luongo stopped all three Boston attempts.
The Bruins now lead the Senators by a single point for the Wild Card but Ottawa has a game in hand. The Panthers are hanging in there, just four points back.
“Was a tight game like it was supposed to be, but we’re basing ourselves on results, and we got a point — we want to get two,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien, as per the club’s Twitter account.
Making matters worse for the Bruins is the fact defenseman Dougie Hamilton didn’t play the third period, leaving the game with an undisclosed injury.
Hammond looks to remain unbeaten in regulation
Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators will look for a sixth straight win tonight when they play host to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. Hammond enters the game with a 12-0-1 record to go along with a 1.55 goals-against average since getting called up from Binghamton.
The Sens enter tonight’s action two points back of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Since the last meeting between the Leafs and Senators (Jan. 21), Ottawa is 17-6-2 while Toronto has gone 5-17-3.
James Reimer gets the nod for the Leafs.
Blue Jackets at Flames: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Karri Ramo
Canucks at Kings: Eddie Lack vs. Jonathan Quick
Capitals at Jets: Braden Holtby vs. Ondrej Pavelec
Rangers at Hurricanes: Cam Talbot vs. Anton Khudobin
Islanders at Devils: Jaroslav Halak vs. Cory Schneider
Bruins at Panthers: Tuukka Rask vs. Roberto Luongo
Sharks at Canadiens: Antti Niemi vs. Carey Price
Sabres at Predators: Matt Hackett vs. Pekka Rinne
Blackhawks at Stars: Corey Crawford vs. Kari Lehtonen
Penguins at Coyotes: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Mike Smith
Flyers at Oilers: Steve Mason vs. Ben Scrivens