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Cats & Coffee: Huberdeau Close to History; Homestand Kicks Off

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment, presented by Koffee Kult, in which we serve up an exciting look at what's on deck for your Florida Panthers. Like our friends at Koffee Kult, this forecast serves up only the best -- so sit back, sip and enjoy our latest brew of news, notes and information!

If you're at BB&T Center this week, you could witness history.

Named to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game last week, Jonathan Huberdeau needs just three more points to tie Olli Jokinen for first on the Florida Panthers all-time scoring list with 419 points.

Earning at least one point in nine of his last 10 games, the 26-year-old winger appears poised to hit that mark sooner rather than later as the Panthers will open up a huge four-game homestand this week with tilts against the Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.

As it stands now, Huberdeau leads the team and ranks sixth in the league with 57 points.

"Great start to the year," Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville said when asked about Huberdeau's play in a recent interview. "He's had a great stretch here recently as well. He gets rewarded with an All-Star appearance. Very well deserved. He's got a hot stick right now."

While Huberdeau, who was also named the NHL's "First Star of the Month" for December, has been posting great individual numbers, the Panthers have also been piling up the points lately.

Entering this week with wins in seven of their last 10 games, Florida closed out its most-recent road trip with a 4-1 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday. Against the Penguins, Frank Vatrano, Brett Connolly, Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov scored, while Chris Driedger made 31 saves.

"We played a full 60 minutes," Panthers center Vincent Trocheck said. "It's been an issue of ours, closing out games in the third period, coming out a little bit flat when we have the lead. Tonight, we came out in the third and played just as well as we did in the first and second."

At 22-15-5, the Panthers currently own the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Here's everything you need to know for the week ahead…


Tuesday: Arizona Coyotes, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will kick off a four-game homestand when the Coyotes (24-16-4) make their lone visit of the season to BB&T Center on Tuesday. Occupying second place in the Pacific Division, Arizona enters this week on a three-game winning streak, including a 6-2 win over Philadelphia on Saturday. Allowing the third-fewest goals in the league (2.50), the Coyotes are currently a bit banged up between the pipes, as Darcy Kuemper is listed as "week to week" and Antti Raanta is considered "day to day" heading into the team's road trip. While Kuemper was named to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, both netminders own a save percentage over .920. If Raanta can't go against the Cats, look for Adin Hill to potentially start. In 19 NHL games, the 23-year-old owns an 8-8-0 record with a .901 save percentage. Up front, while they boast two of the league's top stars of the past decade in Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall, the Coyotes are led in scoring by Nick Schmaltz (35 points) and Clayton Keller (32 points). As for the Panthers, look for Mike Matheson to continue his recent stretch of solid play in this one. Over his last six games, the 25-year-old defenseman has recorded two goals, three assists, seven hits and five blocked shots.



In-Arena Activations: 50-50 Raffle; Nacho Tots Tuesday

Tickets: HERE.

Thursday: Vancouver Canucks, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will look for a little bit of revenge when they wrap up their season series with the Canucks (23-15-4) at BB&T Center on Thursday. Vancouver, which topped Florida 7-2 on home ice back on Oct. 28, enters this week riding a torrid seven-game winning streak. Clicking at both ends of the ice, the team has outscored the opposition 30-17 during that stretch. A 2020 NHL All-Star, goaltender Jacob Markstrom has played very well while getting the nod in six of those seven games, registering a 2.49 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in that time. On offense, Elias Pettersson leads the Canucks in goals (19) and points (44), while J.T. Miller ranks second in both categories (15 goals, 40 points). Providing the offense for the Panthers, look for Evgenii Dadonov to crack the scoresheet in this one. Leading the team in goals (18) and ranking third in points (34), the 30-year-old winger has produced at better than a point-per-game clip over his last nine games, racking up 10 points (six goals, four assists) in that span.



In-Arena Activations: 50-50 Raffle; $5 Beer Thursday; IT'SUGAR Takeover Night

Tickets: HERE

Sunday: Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:00 p.m.

Looking to gain some ground in the Atlantic Division standings, the Panthers will battle the Maple Leafs (24-14-5) for the first time this season on Sunday at BB&T Center. Residing in second place and four points ahead of Florida in the division, Toronto has won nine of its last 10 games, including a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Since Sheldon Keefe took over as head coach on Nov. 20, the Maple Leafs own the league's best record at 15-4-1. A 2020 NHL All-Star, Auston Matthews leads the team in goals (28) and points (51). Over his last nine games, the 22-year-old center has notched nine goals and eight assists for 17 points. For the Panthers, look for captain Aleksander Barkov to have a big night at both ends of the ice in this one. Tasked with shutting down players like Matthews, the two-way center has also put up good offensive numbers in his career against Toronto, recording seven goals and 15 points in 23 games. As it stands now, Barkov ranks second Florida in both assists (32) and points (45).



In-Arena Activations: 50;50 Raffle; Military Appreciation Night

Tickets: HERE


- Keith Yandle is two goals away from his 100th NHL goal.

- Brian Boyle is one assist away from his 100th NHL assist.

- Brian Boyle is two games away from his 800th NHL game.

- Brett Connolly is five goals away from his 100th NHL goal.

- Aaron Ekblad is six points away from his 200th NHL point.


Cole Schwindt had a December to remember.

A third-round pick (81st overall) by the Panthers in the 2019 NHL Draft, Schwindt was named the OHL's "Player of the Month" for December after leading the league with 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) and a plus/minus rating of +7 over 12 games with the Mississauga Steelheads.

Recording at least one point in 11 of 12 games this past month, the 18-year-old center posted six multi-point performances -- including two hat tricks in a three-game span from Dec. 28-31.

In his third OHL campaign, Schwindt leads the Steelheads in goals (17) and points (40).


The Panthers want to make sure you don't miss any of the action at BB&T Center this month.

With the newly released "January 4-Game Pack" fans can roar right into 2020 with a package that includes tickets to Florida's upcoming home games against the Arizona Coyotes (Jan. 7), Vancouver Canucks (Jan. 9), Toronto Maple Leafs (Jan. 12) and Los Angeles Kings (Jan. 16).

In addition to the tickets, fans that purchase the package will also receive a champagne flute!

For more information and for your last chance to purchase, click HERE.


As a way to honor and thank past and present service members, the Panthers will host their annual Military Appreciation Night during their matchup against Toronto on Sunday, Jan. 12.

Players will wear special camouflage jerseys during warmups and, as always, the team will honor one veteran through its "Heroes Among Us" program. Since 2013, the program has celebrated one current or former local service member during each and every home game.

By purchasing a ticket here, fans can receive a special Military-themed Panthers hat.


Grigori Denisenko is heading home with a silver medal after Canada topped Russia 4-3 in the final game of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Sunday.

Florida's 2018 first-round pick shined throughout the tournament, recording a team-leading nine points (three goals, six assists), including netting one goal in the championship game. Last year, the 19-year-old finished tied for the tournament's scoring lead while capturing a bronze medal.

Denisenko also served as Russia's captain.

"Denisenko didn't have the points that he had last season, but he was clearly one of Russia's best players, and his talent was evident whenever he was on the ice,"The Athletic's Corey Pronman wrote in his summary of the tournament."He's a dynamic skater, puck handler and playmaker who played with a lot of energy and created significant amounts of offense."

For a full recap of Panthers prospects at the event, check later today.


Jonathan Huberdeau recently joined NHL Network to discuss being named the league's "First Star of the Month" for December and also what lies ahead for the Panthers down the stretch.

Video: Huberdeau discusses his torrid month of December


Tweet from @KKac1001: Nothing better than a hug from @StanleyCPanther 😻

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: It���s the annual @UnitedWayBC #DayofCaring @thebbtcenter!

Tweet from @MsOrtiz_MSSHS: @SpartanMagnet students enjoying a STEM field trip to the BB&T where they heard from employees in the @FlaPanthers Franchise on how their job relates to to science, technology, engineering and math.


On the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast, Mark Pysyk joins the show to chat about his new role this season, what it's like living next to Brian Boyle and more! Also, in honor of his first All-Star Game, we're giving away a signed puck from Jonathan Huberdeau to one lucky listener.


--The Panthers had one of their best 60-minute efforts of the season during Sunday's 4-1 win in Pittsburgh. Get caught up on all the clips, quotes and notes from the game with "5 Takeaways."

-- The numbers don't lie, Jonathan Huberdeau is having a special season.

-- Chris Driedger and Owen Tippett have been named to the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic.

-- Panthers prospect Cole Schwindt was named the OHL's "Player of the Month" for December

-- Get in in the game with the "Learn to Play" program. 

-- Florida will host its annual Pride Night on Feb. 8.

-- Jonathan Huberdeau was named the NHL's "First Star of the Month" for December.

-- Vote Aleksander Barkov as the "Last Man In" to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game!

-- Have you checked out the Panthers Virtual Vault yet?

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