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Cats & Coffee: Panthers Get Rest Before Hosting St. Louis

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.

What does Bob Boughner want after his first win as head coach of the Florida Panthers?

Well, a little rest would be nice.

Following Saturday's 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Panthers will now have a few days off before hosting the St. Louis Blues on Thursday at the BB&T Center.

"After back-to-back games with all the emotion, it gives us a chance to take a step back here and breathe," Boughner said. "We'll enjoy tomorrow, a day off, and then get back to work on Monday and concentrate on another opponent. It seems like we've played Tampa 100 times in the last two weeks."

Under Boughner, the Panthers offense has come out flying, letting loose a franchise-record 84 shots on goal through the first two games of the season.

"We've asked them to empty their tanks and concentrate on the structure and details that we've talked about in the past, and they've done just that," Boughner said of his team's effort following Saturday's victory. "I think the emotions took over a little bit in the third period and we retailed a little and gave them a chance to get back in, but we found a way to win. That was my pregame speech: good teams find a way to win, good teams never lose two in a row. If we just stick with the plan it'll work."

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

THE GAMES

Thursday: St. Louis Blues, 7:30 p.m.

After their long break, the Panthers will return to the ice to host the St. Louis Blues (2-0-0) at the BB&T Center on Thursday. Florida's defense will need to be on its toes in this game, as the Blues currently own the league's fourth-ranked offense (4.5 goals per game) and third-ranked power play (33.33 percent). Look for Nick Bjugstad to provide a spark for the Panthers on offense, as the 25-year-old forward has three points (2-1-3) in six games against St. Louis. Bjugstad, who head coach Bob Boughner described as being one of Florida's "best forwards" following Saturday's win against Tampa Bay, has a goal and an assist in two games this season.

Panthers vs. Blues 2016-17: 1-1-0

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

Saturday: at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will get their first crack at taking down the defending Stanley Cup champions when they visit the Penguins (1-1-1) at CONSOL Energy Center on Saturday. In the early goings of this season, Pittsburgh has been struggling to keep opponent's off the scoreboard, allowing 15 goals through their first three games, including a 10-1 loss to Chicago on Thursday. Look for newcomer Radim Vrbata to find his way onto Florida's scoresheet in this contest, as the 36-year-old forward currently leads the Panthers with nine shots on goal and has 17 points (7-10-17) in 22 career games against the Penguins.

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

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

MILESTONE WATCH

- Aaron Ekblad is three points shy of 100 for his career.

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

GRATEFUL DEAD NIGHT RETURNS

In a very groovy move -- and back by popular demand -- the Panthers will be hosting another Grateful Dead Tribute Night when they face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, Oct. 20 at the BB&T Center.

The festivities will kick off with a pre-game performance by renowned Grateful Dead tribute act Unlimited Devotion at the New Times Bandstand in the Coors Light Cold Zone.

A special limited edition t-shirt will be given out to fans that buy tickets for the game using the special promo code created just for Deadheads (Hint: the code is GRATEFUL). Click HERE for tickets.

VIKTOR E. DASH

The Panthers will host their second annual Viktor E. Dash in conjunction with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the BB&T Center on Nov. 4, 2017.

The 5k race will kick off at 8 a.m. and the one-mile race will begin at 8:45 a.m., with each racer receiving a special Viktor E. Dash T-Shirt and custom finishers' medal.

The One Mile Race, named the Peggy Ziady Memorial Walk/Run, will take place in memory of the Panthers Director of Human Resources & Payroll Peggy Ziady. Peggy, who spent 12 years working for the Panthers, was a colleague, friend and mentor to every life she touched.

A portion of race registrations will be given to the Florida Panthers Foundation and to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Additionally, all registered racers will receive one ticket for the Panthers vs. Rangers game on Nov. 4, 2017 or Panthers vs. Stars on Nov. 14, 2017. You can register for the race HERE.

CATS IN THE COMMUNITY

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: We're proud to welcome more than 1,000 heroes tonight who showed the strength of our community. Thanks for joining us, Sister Margaret Ann. pic.twitter.com/jiwahGQBcE

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: Please join us in welcoming tonight's @Walmart Playmaker of the Game, Suzanne Holt, Director of Operations Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. pic.twitter.com/OyUqNSCe7e

Tweet from @KKac1001: @FlaPanthers watch party at @Bokampers tonight!!! Eloise was so happy to see @StanleyCPanther ������ pic.twitter.com/8rlSplhaqG

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

- In addition to a $1 million donation towards relief efforts, the Panthers hosted more than 1,000 "hurricane heroes" and their families during Saturday's home opener at the BB&T Center.

What [the Panthers] are doing is incredible," said Dianna Sutton, the President & CEO of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. "So many people and organizations across the country are concerned about the Florida Keys and helping us. The Panthers have really stepped up to the plate and have done the most of any organization."

- From the pages of the book Legacy, head coach Bob Boughner has crafted a new cultural backbone for the Panthers, taking many of the book's key themes like integrity, honesty and authenticity and plastering them onto the walls of both the team's practice facility and home locker room at the BB&T Center.

 "I read this book and the light bulb immediately went off," Boughner said. "I thought it was perfect for this team… For me, it symbolizes culture, an identity and team vision. It's just about doing the right things on and off the ice."

- In his first blog entry of the season, defenseman Alex Petrovic talks about how structure will be key for the Panthers in 2017-18

"The game moves a lot quicker when everyone is on the same page and working as a unit," Petrovic writes. "With Bob Boughner, I think we're definitely going to have that now. We know he's going to be a good coach, a hard-style coach. Under him, we're going to have a fast and structured team."

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