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Daily Primer Nov. 9: New face behind Panthers bench

Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

By John Kreiser - Columnist

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Daily Primer Nov. 9: New face behind Panthers bench
The Panthers bring a 3-9-4 record with them to Canadian Tire Centre for a Saturday afternoon meeting with the Ottawa Senators, who've won two in a row and are coming off a 4-1 home victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

Peter Horachek will try to get the Florida Panthers to do more of what they weren't doing enough of under Kevin Dineen: Win.

Horachek took over as interim coach of the struggling Panthers on Friday after general manager Dale Tallon fired Dineen and his staff. The move came after Florida lost 4-1 to the Boston Bruins, extending its losing streak to seven games.

"He’s a no-nonsense guy, a good communicator," Tallon said of Horachek, who was coach of the Panthers' American Hockey League team, the San Antonio Rampage. "We'll give him a chance to show his wares."

The Panthers bring a 3-9-4 record with them to Canadian Tire Centre for a Saturday afternoon meeting with the Ottawa Senators, who've won two in a row and are coming off a 4-1 home victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

Here's a look at all of the action on a busy Saturday:

Edmonton Oilers at Philadelphia Flyers -- Like the Panthers, the Oilers will have a different look than they did in their previous game, a 4-2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Edmonton traded veteran defenseman Ladislav Smid to the Calgary Flames on Friday for two prospects, then announced a verbal agreement on a one-year contract with free-agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. He was a free agent because the Flyers bought out the final seven seasons of his nine-year contract this past summer. Philadelphia continues to struggle to score; the Flyers are coming off a 3-0 home loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and are last in the NHL with 22 goals in 15 games.

Florida Panthers at Ottawa Senators -- The coaching change might not be the only move Tallon makes if the Panthers continue to struggle. Tallon put his team on notice, saying, "Our better players have to start playing better or we will get better players." Florida might have goaltender Tim Thomas back from a lower-body injury against Ottawa; if not, he might play against the New York Rangers on Sunday. Ottawa expects to have starting goaltender Craig Anderson ready after he sat out two games with a sore neck. In his absence, Robin Lehner allowed two goals in wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens.

New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets -- The Islanders (6-7-3) have dropped below .500 after starting their four-game trip with losses to the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes. They have yet to score a power-play goal since the trade that brought Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres for Matt Moulson. Columbus split its first 10 games but has dropped five in a row, including a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers that coach Todd Richards called "embarrassing hockey." One good thing for the Blue Jackets: They are 6-0-1-1 against the Islanders at Nationwide Arena.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins -- The Maple Leafs come to TD Garden for the first time since that nightmarish night in mid-May when they saw a 4-1 lead in Game 7 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series turn into a 5-4 overtime loss. Toronto is being outshot by an average of over 10 per game, but it's 11-5-0 after beating the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout Friday. Boston can't be thinking about its miracle comeback against Toronto last spring: The Bruins are looking up at the Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings because, despite a 4-1 victory against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, they are 2-3-1 in their past six games.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings -- Red Wings legend-turned Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman brings the best team in the Eastern Conference to Joe Louis Arena, where Detroit is 13-1 with a tie against Tampa Bay. The Lightning come to town with eight wins in their past 10 games. The most recent was the kind of game Tampa Bay often lost in past years; they were outplayed by the Edmonton Oilers but got 38 saves from goaltender Ben Bishop and won 4-2. Detroit is winless in its past four games at Joe Louis Arena, its longest home drought in four years. The Red Wings couldn't hold 2-0 and 3-2 leads against the Dallas Stars on Thursday and lost 4-3 in overtime.

Minnesota Wild at Carolina Hurricanes -- Regardless of the final score, each team hopes to come out of this one with the same number of healthy goalies they started with. Minnesota beat Carolina 3-1 in St. Paul on Oct. 24 in a game that saw each team lose its starting goaltender to injury. The Wild are 3-0-1 in November, though they saw a late 2-1 lead against the Washington Capitals on Thursday turn into a 3-2 shootout loss. After losing five in a row, Carolina has won back-to-back games with third-string goaltender Justin Peters, who shut out the New York Islanders 1-0 on Thursday.

Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues -- The NHL's top point-getter and its leading goal-scorer meet when the Penguins come to Scottrade Center. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby leads all players with 23 points despite being held off the score sheet in a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Crosby being on top of the scoring list is no surprise, but seeing Blues forward Alexander Steen ahead of Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin is. Steen scored his 14th goal in 14 games to help the Blues beat the Calgary Flames 3-2. Steen is 10 goals away from his career high for a season.

Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars -- The Blackhawks won't open the season by going without a regulation loss for 24 games, as they did last season. But a 10-2-4 start is more than enough to show there's no Stanley Cup hangover in Chicago. The Blackhawks are 4-0-1 in their past five games and coming off a dominant 4-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at home Wednesday. The Stars are back home after a 3-0-0 road trip in which they won all three games in extra time. That includes a 4-3 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday in which Dallas trailed 2-0 and 3-2.

Washington Capitals at Phoenix Coyotes -- Alex Ovechkin comes to the desert for the fourth time in his eight-plus NHL seasons; Ovi's first trip, in January 2006, produced one of the early highlight-reel goals of his career. Washington has won all four games this month, including a 3-2 shootout victory against the Minnesota Wild at home Thursday. The Coyotes are 7-0-1 at home after beating the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday, but they're coming off a 5-2 road loss to the Anaheim Ducks one night later.

Vancouver Canucks at Los Angeles Kings -- The Canucks finish a four-game trip with back-to-back games in Southern California. They have to be feeling good about themselves after a solid 4-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, a game in which they dominated despite not getting any offense from their top line. The victory ended a nine-game losing streak to the Sharks, including a four-game sweep in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring. The Kings played the kind of shutdown defense they're known for against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, allowing 19 shots on goal in a 2-0 victory.

Quote of the Day

[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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