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Preview: Hurricanes at Panthers

Canes look to defend first place in South Florida

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / Hurricanes.com

FORT LAUDERDALE - After claiming three of a possible four points in Tampa, the Carolina Hurricanes are set to square off against the Florida Panthers to defend first place in the Central Division.


The Match-Up

Carolina Hurricanes (30-10-5, 65 points) at Florida Panthers (30-12-5, 65 points)

Thursday, April 22, 7 p.m.

Watch: Bally Sports South, FOX Sports GO

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

PROJECTED LINEUP


Numbers to Know

6: Vincent Trocheck, who has recorded at least a point in 16 of his last 18 games (8g, 14a), has scored in all six games against the Panthers this season.

2016: After Jake Gardiner sparred with Alex Killorn on April 19, Jordan Martinook's fight against Barclay Goodrow the next night marked the first time the Canes have been assessed fighting majors on consecutive nights since Jan. 8-9, 2016 when Brad Malone dropped the gloves against Bradon Dubsinsky and Jared Boll of the Columbus Blue Jackets.


The Opposition

Last five games: 4-0-1, 9 points
At home: 16-4-3, 35 points
CAR vs. FLA: 5-0-1
Leading scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau, 49 points (16g, 33a) in 47 games

The Panthers enter this game having won three straight and four of their last five games (4-0-1). Spencer Knight turned aside 33 of 34 shots in his NHL debut, backstopping the Panthers to a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Florida owns the same number of points in the standings as the Canes (65), but they've played two more games.


The Last Meeting

Alex Nedeljkovic made 24 saves on 24 shots to earn his third shutout of the season, while Sebastian Aho, Vicent Trocheck and Martin Necas scored in a 3-0 win earlier this month.

Video: Nedeljkovic, Hurricanes shut out Panthers, 3-0

"Ned came up with saves when he had to," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "You need those saves at the right time, and he [made those] tonight."


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