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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 10:06 AM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Rangers at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Brothers Jimmy Hayes and Kevin Hayes will face each other in the NHL for the first time Wednesday when the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers play New Year's Eve for the second consecutive season.

Jimmy Hayes is second on the Panthers with 10 goals, including three in the past three games.

Kevin Hayes, who followed Jimmy at Boston College, is tied for 11th among NHL rookies with 13 points. He had a goal Monday in Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars.

That defeat snapped New York's eight-game winning streak, their longest in 40 years.

Posted On Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 7:13 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant will be facing his former team for the first time Tuesday when the Montreal Canadiens come to BB&T Center for their traditional holiday visit.

Gallant was an assistant coach for the Canadiens the past two seasons before being hired by the Panthers on June 21.

"It'll be good," Gallant said after the Panthers' optional morning skate. "The coaching staff and the staff over there, I know them real well, and some of the players. Obviously it's nice to see those people back, good people I had a great time with."

Posted On Tuesday, 12.16.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Capitals at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The surging Florida Panthers will have forwards Aleksander Barkov and Scottie Upshall back in the lineup Tuesday when they face the Washington Capitals at BB&T Center.

Upshall missed the past nine games because of an ankle injury; Barkov, the second pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, missed six games with a hand injury.

"It's been a few weeks and I'm feeling good," Upshall said after the morning skate. "I've been practicing, had some good skates and I feel ready. It's nice to jump back in the mix, especially when the team is playing good."

Posted On Saturday, 12.06.2014 / 12:45 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sabres vs. Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Center Dave Bolland, one of the Florida Panthers’ most significant free-agent acquisitions of the summer, could make his return to the lineup Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

Coach Gerard Gallant said Bolland, who hasn’t played since Oct. 17 because of a lower-body injury, was a game-time decision for the matchup at BB&T Center.

"He’s played [four] games for us this year and that’s not enough," Gallant said. "We want him healthy and playing the way he can play. It might take a little while because he’s missed so much time, but he’s a character guy that’s a leader and competitor and he’s a bit of a dirty player, too. You like that."

Posted On Thursday, 12.04.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- After defeating the Florida Panthers for the ninth consecutive time Monday at Nationwide Arena, the Columbus Blue Jackets will look to make it 10 in a row Thursday at BB&T Center.

More importantly, the Blue Jackets will be looking to win consecutive games for the third time this season.

"All that's fresh in my mind is Monday's game," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said after the morning skate. "That's it. Couldn't tell you what happened in the past and reasons why. Now we're just trying to focus on tonight."

Florida hasn't defeated the Blue Jackets since a 5-2 victory at Columbus on Nov. 21, 2007. The Panthers' last home victory in the series came Jan. 3, 2004 during goalie Roberto Luongo's first stint in Florida. Panthers coach Gerard Gallant was coaching his second game for Columbus that day after taking over on an interim basis for Doug MacLean midway through the 2003-04 season.

Columbus won 2-1 victory Monday when Boone Jenner scored the game-winning goal with 9:55 left in the third period.

Posted On Saturday, 11.01.2014 / 7:10 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Panthers' Huberdeau out vs. Flyers with illness

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers, already without three forwards injured in their 2-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, also were without 2013 Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau when they face the Philadelphia Flyers at BB&T Center on Saturday.

Huberdeau was a late scratch because of illness.

Shorthanded up front because of the recent injuries sustained by Brandon Pirri, Sean Bergenheim and Aleksander Barkov, the Panthers will use defenseman Colby Robak at forward.

Posted On Saturday, 11.01.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers prospects Rocco Grimaldi and Vincent Trocheck go way back, so perhaps it was fitting they were called up from the American Hockey League at the same time.

Grimaldi and Trocheck were recalled from the San Antonio Rampage on Friday after the Panthers lost forwards Aleksander Barkov, Sean Bergenheim and Brandon Pirri to injury during their 2-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Trocheck and Grimaldi will be in the lineup Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Trocheck will make his season debut after playing 20 games for the Panthers last season; it will be Grimaldi's NHL debut.

"I guess we're the McDonald’s package," Grimaldi said. "We go everywhere together. Went to school and now we're playing together, so that's pretty sweet."

Posted On Thursday, 10.30.2014 / 1:40 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will be playing at home Thursday for the first time in 17 days. Their recent four-game, nine-day road trip largely was a success, although it ended with an overtime loss Saturday.

As fate would have it, the Panthers' first game at BB&T Center since Oct. 13 will be against the team that defeated them four nights ago, the Arizona Coyotes.

"That game on Saturday is still not sitting well with us," defenseman Erik Gudbranson said of the Panthers' 2-1 loss in Glendale, Ariz. "Obviously the best possible situation is to face them again and get back at them and give them a good game. For us it's really good. We're excited to play them. We're anxious to play them and we should have a good one."

Posted On Monday, 10.13.2014 / 12:15 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- After absorbing the most lopsided home-opening loss in BB&T Center history, the Florida Panthers will be looking to give their fans a better performance Monday against the Ottawa Senators.

"It was tough home opener for us," Panthers center Nick Bjugstad said. "Obviously we want to show the fans a little something better than that. It was disappointing for us and the fans. We've got to come out to play, that's the bottom line. We've got to be ready to play in the first period. We weren't ready to play, so that's got to change."

The Panthers (0-1-1) fell behind 4-0 in the first period against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday and ended up losing 5-1. That matched a 4-0 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 3, 2009 as the franchise's most lopsided loss in a home opener, but the latter took place in Helsinki, Finland.

The Panthers had won their next four home openers before Saturday.

Posted On Saturday, 10.11.2014 / 1:36 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Devils at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Hours before facing his former team for the 11th time, New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer said there was something familiar about the new-look Florida Panthers.

DeBoer wasn't referring to his three seasons as Panthers coach, but rather about the Panthers team his Devils faced in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"You just look at their lineup, they're much deeper," said DeBoer, who is beginning his fourth season with New Jersey. "It reminds me of three years ago when we played them in the playoffs. They went out in the summer and they spent some money and they added NHL depth across the board. Their young guys are starting to come into their own. I'm familiar with their young guys. It takes a while, but I think they've got a nice blend of veterans and young talent."

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Quote of the Day

Well, for me this one's concerning, the way we performed. Because three games in, playing a desperate team on the road, I was expecting something else than this. Right now, I'm just disappointed. The other games, I thought we did some things that you can build off your game. There wasn't a lot accomplished in tonight's game.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards after a 4-2 loss to the Sabres on Monday dropped Columbus to 0-3-0
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