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Cats & Coffee: Looking to Rebound on the Road

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment presented by Community Coffee in which we get you caffeinated with an exciting look at the week ahead for the Florida Panthers.

The Florida Panthers will hit the road this week, hoping to erase the sting of a 1-2-2 homestand in which they allowed five-or-more goals in three of five games at the BB&T Center.

"We have to play desperate hockey," said Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who returned to the lineup Saturday after missing six games due to injury. "We've got to try to win 1-0 games. It's tough to go back and forth with teams and get into shootouts every night because a lot of teams are just going to shut it down and wait for their opportunities."

"When there are breakdowns, me and [backup goaltender James Reimer] have to come up with saves. But that being said, we have to make sure that we have the right mindset when we're out there and try to grind away, especially going on the road now."

Florida's three-game road trip will begin on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes. After that, the team will have two days off before back-to-back games against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday and the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

With a 4-7-2 record, the Panthers hope the trip will reboot their season. "We obviously had different plans for the homestand," Panthers forward Colton Sceviour said. "It didn't go quite as well as we hoped…. We want to build some momentum on the road here and start climb back up [the standings]." 

Here's everything you need to know for the week ahead…

THE GAMES

Tuesday: at Carolina Hurricanes, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will be hoping for a defensive resurgence when they kick off their three-game road trip against the Hurricanes (4-5-3) at PNC Arena on Tuesday. Florida is currently allowing a league-worst 4.23 goal per game, but will have a good opportunity to turn things around against Carolina's 26th-ranked offense (2.58 goals per game). In this contest, look for Vincent Trocheck have an impact on offense for the Panthers, as the second-line center has tallied eight points (3-5-8) over his last five games.

Panthers vs. Hurricanes in 2016-17: 1-2-0

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (DADE/BROWARD); 640 WMEN (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS); 1370 WAXE (TREASURE COAST) *WAXE START TIME 8:00 PM

Friday: at Buffalo Sabres, 7:00 p.m.

It's pretty safe to call this game an early season must-win for the Panthers, as the struggling Sabres (4-8-2) are the only team they are looking down on in the Atlantic Division standings. Unlike the Panthers, Buffalo has been floundering at both ends of the ice, ranking 30th in the league in offense (2.50 goals per game) and 28th in defense (3.71 goals allowed per game). With a big two points on the line, look for Roberto Luongo to get the nod in net for Florida. In 29 career games against the Sabres, the veteran goaltender boasts a .933 save percentage and a 1.99 goals-against average with five shutouts.

Panthers vs. Sabres in 2016-17: 2-2-0

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (DADE/BROWARD); 640 WMEN (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS); 1370 WAXE (TREASURE COAST) *WAXE START TIME 8:00 PM

Saturday: at New Jersey Devils, 7:00 p.m.

The toughest test of Florida's three-game trip will come on Saturday, when the Panthers clash with the upstart Devils (9-3-1) at the Prudential Center. On offense, New Jersey is led by forward Taylor Hall and rookie defenseman Will Butcher, who leads the Devils' fifth-ranked power play (26.8 percent) with seven power-play points. If they hope to end their trip on a high note, the Panthers will need their penalty kill to find its footing after allowing five power play goals over their past three games.

Panthers vs. Devils in 2016-17: 3-0-0

TV: FSF

Radio: 880 WZAB (DADE/BROWARD); 850 WFTL (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS); 1370 WAXE (TREASURE COAST)

MILESTONE WATCH

- Roberto Luongo needs just one more win to surpass Curtis Joseph for fourth place on the NHL's all-time wins list with 455.

- Mike Matheson is three games away from 100 for his NHL career.

- Jamie McGinn is nine points away from his 200th NHL point.

GET READY FOR STAR WARS NIGHT

That's no moon… it's Star Wars Night! The Panthers will hold their third-annual Star Wars Night at the BB&T Center on Friday, Dec. 1, when the San Jose Sharks make their lone visit of the season to Sunrise. By purchasing this package - sorry, we don't accept Republic Credits - you will get a limited edition Florida Panthers Star Wars print jersey, an exclusive photo opportunity and, of course, a seat for the game. There are only 1,500 Star Wars jerseys to go around, so follow the link in the tweet below to purchase your package ASAP!

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Hop in your X-Wing and head to BB&T Center on 12/1!�� https://t.co/xlvTAidgBb pic.twitter.com/kWyXJyBkm7

CATS IN THE COMMUNITY

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: Wishing the Florida Sled Bandits good luck in the @usahockey Sled Classic! pic.twitter.com/lGtE3jnSSt

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: .@Caldwell16 speaks to the leadership academy of the FPSHL. pic.twitter.com/Pmf5cA5hfC

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: We���re currently collecting non-perishable food items for the @TheHarvestDrive! Come drop off your items on the @JetBlue Tarmac! pic.twitter.com/DqswwMkR7S

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: And they���re off! #ViktorEDash #UniteForCures pic.twitter.com/SFL7XrNNM8

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

-- The Panthers loaned forward Denis Malgin to Springfield (AHL)

-- A third-round pick of the Panthers in June's NHL draft, Max Gildon has easily been one of college hockey's most impressive defenseman throughout the first month of the 2017-18 season, gaining national attention for the offensive impact he's already bringing to the University of New Hampshire's blue line.

"I'm just trying to get better every day," Gildon recently told FloridaPanthers.com. "I want to make it to the NHL, but that's not all that's on my mind. I'm trying to kind of live in the moment and take it day-by-day. I just want to get better every day. I'm looking to improve in all areas." 

-- What's the meaning behind Keith Yandle's rose-gold stick? Find out HERE!

-- Join us for $5 Beer Night on Nov. 22! 

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Party with the #FlaPanthers on 11/22 with $5 beers all night!�� https://t.co/PPPVUuSUwq pic.twitter.com/c5R7ey5IYM

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