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Panthers at Islanders [open game thread]

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Florida Mew-cats (16-15-5, 3rd/SE) at New York Islanders (11-22-4, 30th)

2 p.m. EST, New Year's Eve | Nassau Coliseum | MSG+

At work just-checking-email, boss Online Feed

Lovely collection of visual humor at Panthers blog Litter Box Cats

Whoa, who was in charge of waking me up? Totally missed that we had another matinee on the docket, so this is sort of preview and game thread in one.

These are not the Panthers of yesteryear -- they've got a hot goaltender and have actually been winning a lot. Well, take that back, these are your Panthers of yesteryear: Teasing us and falling back down to earth lately, but Craig Anderson -- who we very much remember from yesteryear -- Thomas Vokoun will no doubt ding us again. What's a franchise's tortured fan base gotta do to get a playoff appearance around here? The Panthers are overdue.

For the Islanders, the usual: Mike Sillinger on IR, Trent Hunter still out after the MSG penalty box got him, Rick DiPietro recuperating the rusty groin et al. Can you tell I wasn't ready for an afternoon start? Hope the Islanders are better prepared than I am.

Introducing undrafted 23-year-old Trevor Smith, AHL Bridgeport's leading scorer called up for his NHL debut and wearing #77. As someone who grew a little too attached to Pierre Turgeon, I'm not sure how I feel about this. Glad the Isles aren't wearing the vintage colors tonight, because seeing 77 in them would be too much to digest at one time.

Sweet: Good ol' Jiggs McDonald is in the booth for the Isles. Always a pleasure.