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Preview: Panthers vs. Hurricanes

First meeting of the season between two of Central's top teams

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / Hurricanes.com

For the first time this season, the Carolina Hurricanes will square off with the Florida Panthers, a match-up of two teams each with 20 points in 13 games.


The Match-Up

Florida Panthers (9-2-2, 20 points) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (10-3-0, 20 points)

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 5 p.m.

Watch: FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports GO

Listen: 99.9 FM The Fan, Hurricanes.com/Listen, Hurricanes app

PROJECTED LINEUP


Tracking the Storylines

Clicking on Offense: The Canes exploded for seven goals - six of which were unanswered - in a 7-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night. Twelve different skaters recorded at least a point, while Brock McGInn (2g, 2a) and Teuvo Teravainen (1g, 3a) equaled career-best performances with four points each. The Canes have scored three or more goals in every game but three this season, and they've averaged 4.6 goals for in their last five games.

Paquette's Debut: Cedric Paquette made his Canes debut on Monday night after a lengthy weekend trip that included one flight, an overnight drive in Canada, a border crossing and an all-day drive down to Raleigh. Paquette logged 11:33 of ice time and five hits, including one on Seth Jones in the neutral zone that prompted a spirited reaction from his new teammates on the bench.

"He's a great player. He plays a really hard-nosed game. He's good defensively and offensively. He kills penalties. He brings grit to the game," Trocheck said of Paquette. "He brings a lot of things we needed in this lineup."

Trocheck Faces Old Friends: It's been almost a full calendar year since the Canes acquired Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline. Now, his 20th regular-season game with the Canes marks his first against the team he played 420 regular-season games with after they drafted him in the third round (64th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Video: "Definitely looking forward to playing [Florida]."

"I'm not sure [how it will be], really. I'll let you know after the game," Trocheck said on Tuesday. "I'm definitely looking forward to playing them. It's going to be a little weird, but once you get out on the ice, it's just hockey."


The Opposition

Last five games: 3-2-0, 6 points
On the road: 4-0-1, 9 points
CAR vs. FLA in 2019-20: 2-1-0
Leading scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau, 17 points (5g, 12a) in 13 games

The Panthers began a four-game road trip in Tampa on Monday night, and, propelled by four goals in the second period, they handed the Lightning their first home loss in a 6-4 final. The Panthers and Canes have each played 13 games this season, and both teams sit with 20 points in the standings. The Panthers have yet to lose in regulation on the road (4-0-1), while the Canes have yet to lose - period - at home (4-0-0).


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