CALGARY, AB – The Florida Panthers are skidding.
The Panthers are on a four-game losing streak heading into Friday’s contest with the Calgary Flames and are already slated to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 12th time in the past 13 seasons. They are primed to have a top-three pick in the NHL draft for the fourth time in five years (Erik Gudbranson – 2010, Jonathan Huberdeau – 2011, and Aleksander Barkov – 2013).
Statistically, Florida has struggled all season, sitting second last in total goals for in goals (176), goals scored per game (2.29), and goals against average (3.22).
As a result, the Panthers are third-last in the NHL, one point ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and 11 up on the Buffalo Sabres with 62 points.
This Season: 27-42-8, 62 points (15th in East)
Last Season: 15-27-6, 36 points (15th in East)
Notable Injuries: Forwards Aleksander Barkov (knee) and Tomas Kopecky (upper body) and defencemen Alex Petrovic (upper body) and Tom Gilbert (sports hernia) are out indefinitely. Goaltender Roberto Luongo (upper body) and forwards Brad Boyes (back) and Jonathan Huberdeau (lower body) are listed as day-to-day.
Flames Season Series Record: 1-0-0
The 22-year-old Pirri has been one of the more productive players for the Panthers this season, scoring back-to-back goals in Florida’s past two games. Since moving to Sunrise from the Chicago Blackhawks, Pirri has scored five goals and added four assists in 16 games.
Gomez has continued to struggle offensively in the latter parts of his career and the move to Florida doesn’t appear to have helped the former Calder Trophy winner. The Anchorage, AK product has just two goals in 44 games with the Panthers this season and hasn’t registered a point since March 20.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bjugstad is in his first full season with the Panthers and he has been everything the Panthers could want from a 21-year-old centre. His 35 points ties him for the team lead and sits him sixth in NHL rookie scoring. Bjugstad has scored 14 goals in his rookie campaign, which has him tied for third on Florida.
Campbell has been one of the most consistent players for Florida since he joined the club prior to the 2011-12 NHL season. He is tied for the team lead with 35 points (7g, 28a) and hasn’t missed a game for the Panthers in his three years with the team. The 34-year-old has been near the top of the league in time on the ice ice time having averaged 26:48 minutes per game over the past three seasons.
Howden is on his second call up stint with Florida this season and was riding a four-game point streak when he was first called up from San Antonio. He then went pointless four six games before scoring in Florida’s most recent game, a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders.