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Cats & Coffee: Panthers Head Out West in Search of Points

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

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!

The Florida Panthers are heading out west in search of greater fortune.

Sitting just four points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs (31-21-8) for third place in the Atlantic Division with a pair of games in hand, the Panthers (30-22-6) have a chance to move back into a playoff spot this week as they embark on a five-game trek through the Western Conference.

Starting with a matchup in San Jose on Monday, the Panthers will then visit Anaheim and Los Angeles for a back-to-back set on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. After that, they'll travel to Vegas for a matchup on Saturday before wrapping up their trip in Arizona on Feb. 25.

"It's going to be big," Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau said of the crucial trip. "I don't know how we've got to be, but over .500, for sure. I think we've got to start winning some games."

Florida has found success away from home lately, posting a 6-2-1 record in its last nine games on the road. The team has also been very good during its recent campaigns through California, going 6-3-0 in matchups at San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim over the past three seasons.

With 24 games left in the season, this road trip stands as the biggest one yet.

"We're going to have to be smart, simple and hard," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said.

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

THE GAMES

Monday: at San Jose Sharks, 4:00 p.m. ET

The Panthers will kick off their five-game road trip with an afternoon matchup against the Sharks (26-28-4) at SAP Center on Monday. Winning four of their last five games, San Jose enters the week on the heels of back-to-back victories at Winnipeg and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday, respectively. In their win over the Jets, however, the Sharks lost star defenseman Erik Karlsson for the season, as the 29-year-old former Norris Trophy winner broke his thumb while blocking a shot. Karlsson still currently stands as the club's scoring leader with 40 points (six goals, 34 assists), while fellow blueliner Brent Burns sits just behind him with 39 (12 goals, 27 assists). Evander Kane, meanwhile, has the most goals with 21. For the Panthers, expect Aleksander Barkov to lead the charge on offense in this one. Ranking second on Florida in with 56 points (17 goals, 39 assists), the 24-year-old center has produced at better than a point-per-game clip in his career against San Jose, registering 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 12 games.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); SiriusXM Streaming 932

Territory on Tap Locations: HERE

Official Watch Party: Bokamper's Bar & Grill in Miramar

Wednesday: at Anaheim Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET

The Panthers will continue their trek down the coast of California with a battle against the Ducks (24-27-7) at Honda Center on Wednesday. Anaheim enters the week with wins in four of its last seven games, including a 5-1 beatdown of the Canucks in Vancouver on Sunday. Ryan Getzlaf leads the Ducks in scoring with 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists), while Adam Henrique paces the club in goals (20), including three over his last four games. In the crease, goaltender Ryan Miller owns a 3-0-1 record with a .930 save percentage over his last five appearances. Across the ice, look for Aaron Ekblad to make some magic happen for the Panthers. In the only other meeting between the two clubs this season, the 24-year-old defenseman had a pair of goals -- including netting the game-winner just 22 seconds into overtime -- to lead Florida to a 5-4 win in Sunrise back on Nov. 21. In the midst of one of the best seasons of his career, Ekblad, who leads the team in average ice time per game (22:52), ranks second among Panthers defensemen in scoring with 32 points (five goals, 27 assists), including seven assists over his last 12 contests.

TV: FSF

Radio: 790 WAXY (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys) 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Streaming 932

Territory on Tap Locations: HERE

Thursday: at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET

Who's ready to stay up late? The Panthers will close to book on a back-to-back set with a visit to the Kings (21-33-5) at STAPLES Center on Thursday. Despite occupying eighth place in the Pacific Division, Los Angeles enters the week with wins in each of its last two games, including a surprising 3-1 upset over Colorado on Saturday. Prior to picking up those two wins, the Kings had lost 10 of their previous 11 games. Ranking 30th in the league on offense, Los Angeles is led up front by Anze Kopitar, who has accumulated 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists). Behind him, Alex Iafallo has tallied 35 points, while Tyler Toffoli has 34, including a team-best 18 goals. For the Panthers, look for Mike Hoffman to do some damage in this contest. Tied for second on the team with 21 goals, the 30-year-old winger has earned at least one point in 14 of his last 18 games, racking up eight goals and 11 assists in that span. In 11 career games against the Kings, he's produced nine points (four goals, five assists), including two game-winning goals.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys) 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Streaming 932

Territory on Tap Locations: HERE

Saturday: at Vegas Golden Knights, 10:00 p.m. ET

The penultimate stop on their five-game trek through the Western Conference, the Panthers will visit the Golden Knights (30-22-8) on Saturday. Vegas enters the week with victories in five of its last eight games, including a 7-2 win in Florida on Feb. 6. Mark Stone, who tied a career-high with five points in that win over the Panthers, leads the team in scoring with 57 points (20 goals, 37 assists), while Max Pacioretty ranks second with 55, including a team-high 26 goals. Over his last five games, Pacioretty has notched five goals and two assists. Between the pipes, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has slumped a bit for Vegas, posting a 3-3-2 record with a .895 save percentage over his last eight appearances. For the Panthers, expect to see Jonathan Huberdeau come up big in this contest on the offensive side of the puck. Leading the team in scoring with 70 points (21 goals, 49 assists), the 26-year-old winger has done very well in his career against the Golden Knights, recording seven points (one goal, six assists) in five games.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys) 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Streaming 932

Territory on Tap Locations: HERE

MILESTONE WATCH

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

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

- Evgenii Dadonov is three points away from his 200th NHL point.

PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT

Dryden Hunt is going streaking down in Springfield.

Entering this week on a four-game point streak, the 24-year-old forward has registered three goals and four assists in that span. Ending last week with a bang, he tallied three points (two goals, one assist) to lift the Thunderbirds to a 4-3 win over the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday.

Tweet from @ThunderbirdsAHL: 🚨 HUNT GOAL 🚨Hunt finds the back of the net at the 12:42 mark of the third giving the Thunderbirds a 3-2 lead over Charlotte. 🍎 Saarela#RiseUp // #CHAvsSPR pic.twitter.com/CauK63KfEc

After suiting up in 20 games with the Panthers earlier this season, Hunt has settled into a nice groove down in the AHL as of late. Cracking the scoresheet in 12 of his last 16 contests, he's racked up nine goals and 10 assists in that span, including a trio of multi-point performances.

Hunt currently ranks second on Springfield in goals (13) and fourth in points (29).

A NIGHT OF NETWORKING

The Panthers will host a special "PantHER Happy Hour" presented by Spectra Baby USA on Thursday, March 5 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at BB&T Center prior to their game against Boston.

A night of vendors, cocktails and networking, ticket packages for the event include:

VIP Package ($93): This package includes a lower-level ticket to the game, early entry at 5:30 p.m., access to a special networking event and a scarf. The private event offers the opportunity to meet with female executives from local companies and organizations.

GA Package ($72): This package includes a club-level ticket to the game, access to the event at 6 p.m. and a scarf.

Student Rush Package ($35): This package includes a ticket to the game within the Student Rush section, access to the event at 6 p.m. For this event in particular, all students must be 21 years or older to purchase tickets and gain entry to the event.

Territory Member Add-On ($25): This add-on includes access to the event at 6 p.m.

For more information or to purchase one of the above packages, click HERE.

PUCKS AND PINTS BEERFEST

Who's ready for Round 2?

Presented by Funky Buddha Brewery, the Panthers will host their bi-annual "Pucks & Pints" Beerfest on Saturday, March 14 at BB&T Center when the New Jersey Devils come to town.

All fans must be 21 or older to purchase tickets and attend the Beerfest, which will feature live music, giveaways and, of course, a lot of fun beer sampling from participating local breweries.

Every fan that attends the event will receive a 4oz "Pucks & Pints" exclusive sampling cup and unlimited sampling from many incredible breweries such as Barrel of Monks, Broski Ciderworks, Concrete Beach Brewery, Copperpoint Brewing Company, Funky Buddha Brewery, Lagunitas, LauderAle, M.I.A. Beer Company, Saltwater Brewery, The Tank Brewing Co and more.

A portion of all proceeds from the Beerfest will benefit the Florida Panthers Foundation.

For information on special ticket packages, click HERE.

30 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS

There's no better time than right now to renew your Territory Membership!

Over the next few weeks, fans that renew their Territory Memberships for the 2020-21 season will have a chance to win great prizes through the organization's annual 30 Days of Giveaways.

Presented by Walmart, prizes for the 30 Days of Giveaways include:

• A two Night Stay at The Dalmar in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

• $500 Walmart Shopping Spree

• 3-Day Caribbean Cruise

• Tech Pack including a GoPro, Google Nest & Samsung Tablet

• Grand Prize of a Florida Panthers 2020-21 Away Game Experience (Airfare, Hotel and Game Tickets for 2)

For more renewal information, visit FloridaPanthers.com/AccountManager.

CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK

Go behind the scenes with Brett Connolly during Florida's 4-1 win at Detroit on Jan. 18.

Video: Mic'd Up: Brett Connolly

CATS IN THE COMMUNITY

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: We���re honored to welcome tonight���s @mossconstruct Community Champion @MODSFTL. pic.twitter.com/94uziTVqHq

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: Our book drive in partnership with @CSCBroward is underway at @thebbtcenter! Thanks to all that have donated books. 📚 pic.twitter.com/GfErGEsxrR

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: The #FlaPanthers unite as #OneTerritory to share the inspiring message of love and resilience with the @CoralSpringsFL and South Florida community. #MSDStrong pic.twitter.com/vTkhzNfKvA

TERRITORY TALK

On the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast, goalie scribe Catherine Silverman joins the show to talk about Sergei Bobrovsky's work ethic, Spencer Knight's massive potential, Roberto Luongo's legacy and much more!

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

-- Florida's game at St. Louis has been moved to March 9.

-- Brian Boyle is expected to miss several weeks with an upper-body injury.

-- The Panthers rode their fourth line to a big win over New Jersey last week.

-- You can personalize your own ticket package for the playoff push with a Flex Plan. 

-- The Panthers have found their official hard seltzer.

-- It's never too late to put on a pair of skates! The "Adult Learn to Play" program is back!

-- Peer into the past with the Panthers Virtual Vault, presented by Baptist Health.

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