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Cats & Coffee: Panthers Keep 'Building and Building' on Strong Start

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!

The Florida Panthers aren't resting on their laurels after a strong opening month.

With a 4-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at BB&T Center, the Panthers earned their sixth win in their last nine games. Sitting at 7-3-4 on the season, they currently reside in third place in the Atlantic Division and have built a strong foundation for success.

"Just to have the game in control for the whole night, that's a positive," Panthers winger Brett Connolly said after the win. "We've had to obviously grind for points this year, a lot of overtimes and stuff like that. We're getting there. We're 14 games in now. Guys are starting to get the systems; it's starting to become second habit.

"Guys are really working on that and taking pride in that. It's coming. We've just got to keep building and building and building. I know it's early, but hopefully we can keep building until Christmas, and then after Christmas. Hopefully we can go into the postseason really confident and playing good hockey. That's really what we're aiming for."

Looking to continue their hot start, the Panthers will face another tough test this week, starting with a matchup against the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals at home Thursday. After that, they'll hit the road once again and kick off a three-game trek with a formidable back-to-back in New York against the Islanders and Rangers on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

That being said, the Panthers have already gotten pretty used to playing against some of the top teams in the league. Of their first 14 games, 10 have come against teams that are currently sitting in playoff spots. In those 10 games, they've come away with at least a point eight times.

"We love winning," Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. "The atmosphere in the locker room after the games is the best thing you can have in hockey. We love working for each other."

Jonathan Huberdeau enters this week in the midst of a torrid scoring stretch. Over his last two games, the 26-year-old winger has notched four goals and one assist. As it stands now, he sits atop the team-scoring list with 18 points in 14 games - just one more than his linemate, Barkov.

"Huby's got a hot stick, he's enjoying it," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said after the win over the Red Wings. "His line mates have contributed as well. Barky scoring a nice goal being at the net. A lot of good things happened with that line."

Since Oct. 14, the Panthers rank tied for fourth in the league with 14 points earned.

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


Thursday: Washington Capitals, 7:00 p.m.

After several days off, the Panthers will finally return to action when they host the Capitals (11-2-3) at BB&T Center on Thursday. Washington has won eight of its last nine games and enters the week riding a four-game winning streak following a 4-2 win over Calgary on Sunday. Against the Flames, Jakub Vrana netted his first-career hat trick to increase his goal total to nine, which ranks second to only Alexander Ovechkin's 11 on the team. Led by Ovechkin and John Carlson, who leads all NHL defensemen with 23 points, the Capitals currently own the top offense (3.94 goals per game) and fourth-ranked power play (25.9 percent) in the league. For that reason, the Panthers should rely heavily on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in this game. The 31-year-old has helped the team earn a point in each of his last eight starts, going 5-0-3 in that span. His last time out, he made 22 saves to earn his first shutout of the season against Detroit on Saturday.



In-Arena Activations: 50/50 Raffle; Military Appreciation Night; $5 Beer Thursday

Tickets: HERE

Saturday: at New York Islanders, 1:00 p.m.

The Panthers will kick off a three-game road trip when they visit the streaking Islanders (10-3-0) at Barclays Center on Saturday. The hottest team in the NHL at the moment, New York pushed its winning streak to nine games with a 1-0 win at Buffalo on Saturday. As you'd expect from a Barry Trotz-coached team, defense has been key for the Islanders during their streak. In their last nine games, they've surrendered more than two goals just once, which has elevated their defense to third in the league (2.23 goals allowed per game). Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey are tied for the team-scoring lead with 11 points, while Barzal also paces the club in goals (6). In net, both Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov own save percentages above .929. Looking to break through that stalwart defense for the Panthers will be Jonathan Huberdeau. The 26-year-old winger leads the team with 18 points, including six goals and four assists over his last six games. In his career against New York, he's tallied four goals and eight assists in 18 games.



Where to watch: Territory on Tap

Sunday: at New York Rangers, 1:00 p.m.

After battling in Brooklyn, the Panthers won't have to travel far to close out their back-to-back set against the Rangers (5-5-1) at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Following a five-game losing streak, New York enters the week with wins in three out of its last four contests, including a 2-1 win in Nashville on Saturday. A big reason for that recent turnaround has been the play Alexander Georgiev in net. Splitting time with Henrik Lundqvist, the 23-year-old owns a 3-2-1 record with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage this season. On the offensive side of the puck, three different skaters are tied for the team-scoring lead with 11 points. For the Panthers, look for Denis Malgin to find his way onto the scoresheet in this one, as the 22-year-old forward has notched at least one point in eight of 12 games this season.



Where to watch: Territory on Tap 


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

- Colton Sceviour is one game away from his 400th NHL game.

- Evgenii Dadonov is six assists away from his 100th NHL assist.

- Joel Quenneville is three wins away from his 900th win as a head coach in the NHL.


John Ludvig is already turning a lot of heads in the WHL this season.

A third-round pick (69th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old currently ranks first among the league's defensemen in goals (8), while also sitting tied for second in points (16).

In the midst of a five-game point streak, Ludvig, who serves as Portland's captain, has helped the Winterhawks get off to a solid 10-4-1 start this season, placing them second in their division.

During his current point streak, he's notched two goals and three assists.


If your kids want to put on a pair of skates, the Panthers want to help.

In conjunction with the NHL, NHLPA and USA Hockey, the Panthers are hosting "Learn To Play" sessions at local rinks for boys and girls ages 5-9. All registrants must be first time ice hockey participants and have never been registered with USA hockey prior to taking the course.

Introducing the game to children at a reduced cost, the "Learn to Play" program was designed to tear down some of the traditional financial barriers that have kept families away from the ice in the past. For just $175, all participants receive a full set of equipment (skates, pads, etc.) and six weeks of on-ice training with Florida Panthers Alumni and USA Hockey Certified Coaches.

For more information and to find a rink near you that offers the program, please visit


It's time to sip some suds and watch some slap shots.

Presented by Funky Buddha Brewery, the Panthers will host their bi-annual "Pucks & Pints" Beerfest on Saturday, Nov. 30 at BB&T Center when the Nashville Predators 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, plenty of beer sampling from participating local breweries. The three ticket options available are as follows:

- VIP Entry for $115: This includes a club endzone ticket for the game, early access to the beer garden at 3 p.m., parking, a $20 loaded ticket for food and beverage, and a 4oz sampling mug.

- General Admission for $65: This includes an upper-level ticket for the game, access to the beer garden at 4 p.m., parking, and a 4oz sampling mug.

- Student Rush for $35: This includes a student rush ticket to the game, access to the beer garden starting at 4 p.m., and a 4oz sampling mug. This offer is available for students only.

All of these ticket package options include unlimited sampling during the Beerfest, which stays open until arena doors open at 6 p.m., from this year's participating breweries, which includes: Barrel of Monks, Broski Ciderworks, Concrete Beach Brewery, Copperpoint Brewing Company, Funky Buddha Brewery, Lagunitas, LauderAle, M.I.A. Beer Company, Cigar City and more.

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

To purchase tickets, please click HERE or visit


Jonathan Huberdeau was mic'd up during last week's win in Edmonton.

What was being said on the ice? Check out the video below to find out!

Video: Mic'd Up: Jonathan Huberdeau


Tweet from @fred_guttenberg: Thank you to the @FlaPanthers for choosing @Ribbons4Jaime as your community champion tonight. This donation towards our nationwide Dance A Thon will be used to provide scholarships for kids of all abilities.

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: Trick or treat! 🎃 @StanleyCPanther & @ROARCorps stopped by @SylvesterCancer alex���s place this morning!

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: These #LearnToPlay participants are gearing up for their on-ice sessions! 🏒


In the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast, Doug Plagens and Jameson Olive sit down with FOX Sports Florida's Jessica Blaylock to discuss Florida's hot start to the 2019-20 season.


-- Miss anything from Saturday's shutout over the Red Wings? Catch up with "5 Takeaways."

-- Following a successful October, the Panthers are looking ahead to the next challenge.

-- The Panthers have extended their partnership with Broward Health.

-- Florida's first month of the season was highlighted by character and big comebacks.

-- The "Sahlen's Red Hot Value Pack" is back and better than ever.

--When will your city be honored at a game? Read the "Territory Takeover" schedule now!

-- Don't miss "Yoga Day" at BB&T Center on Dec. 8.

-- Check out interesting pieces of Panthers history in the Virtual Vault.

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