PANTHERS (20-24-7) at RED WINGS (23-18-10)
5:00 PM ET; TV: FOX Sports Network; RADIO: 560 AM
Last 10: Florida 5-4-1; Detroit 5-4-1
RED HOT ON THE ROAD: The Cats have been getting the job done away from the BB&T Center lately and picking up two points after two points in hostile environments. After back-to-back wins in Pittsburgh and Buffalo last week, the Panthers are looking for their second three-game road winning streak of the season (Dec. 15-19). Florida has played inspired hockey while on the road, earning big wins across North America including in Detroit, Montreal and Toronto since the middle of November. In fact, they're 9-5-2 since Nov. 16 in which they downed the Colorado Avalanche 4-1.
SERIES COLLECTORS: Victorious in two of the first three games of their season series against the now Atlantic Division rivals Red Wings, the Panthers will have two chances to take the season series beginning with Sunday's game in the Motor City. With just one win in the remaining two games (Feb. 6), it would give the Cats two huge season series victories against elite teams after winning the rubber match of their season series in Pittsburgh last Monday by a 5-1 final.
POINTING UP(SHALL): Forward Scottie Upshall gave the Panthers a chance in Friday night's game against Colorado scoring two third period goals as the Cats fell 3-2. His first gave him 100 career NHL goals while the second with less than two to play gave the Cats hope as he screened the goalie and deflected Tom Gilbert's point shot past Semyon Varlamov. The energetic winger has been all over the ice causing havoc for the opponents and the two goal game was his second of the season and sixth multi-point game of the season as he sits second on the team with 23 points.
WINGED WHEEL: As superstars Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk go, so do the Red Wings. The duo lead the Wings with 44 and 32 points and 16 and 15 goals respectively. The Panthers did a masterful job frustrating Pittsburgh's juggernaut offense including holding league leader and Canadian Captain Sidney Crosby to one shot in their game last week and they'll need the same effort in Sunday's game to keep the Wings at bay. It will require solid five-man efforts across the board including good back checking from the forwards and solid defense from Mike Weaver and the other blueliners.
STEPPING UP: With rookie Aleksander Barkov missing the last game, center Scott Gomez stepped in to the Killer B line and kept that line buzzing as the trio of Gomez, Brad Boyes and Sean Bergenheim combined for 15 of the Panthers 36 shots against Colorado. Gomez was stellar in the face-off dot as well winning 77% of his draws (10-of-13). They'll need another great game from Gomez as he replaces the 18-year old Finnish phenom who leads the Panthers with 24 points.