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Cats & Coffee: Panthers Records Within Reach During Final Week

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 have saved the best for last.

With three games remaining in their 25th anniversary season, the Panthers will attempt to re-write the history books during their final homestand this week at BB&T Center, giving every fan that comes out to support the team a chance to spend the next 25 years saying, "I was there!"

With 91 points already in his back pocket, captain Aleksander Barkov needs to pick up just three more points this week to match Hall of Famer Pavel Bure's franchise record for the most points in a season (94). Since Feb. 17, the talented center leads the NHL with 15 goals and 38 points.

Not far behind Barkov in the scoring race is linemate Jonathan Huberdeau, who has pushed his career-high point total to 88 thanks in large part to his franchise-record 61 assists, which places him tied for eighth in the NHL this season. His 27 goals are also one shy of a new career-best.

Already the first duo in franchise history to post 80 points in the same season, Huberdeau and Barkov can push that record even further by becoming a 90-point pair. As it stands right now, Edmonton and Tampa are the only teams in the NHL this season with multiple 90-point players.

"Of course we're kind of a hot line right now," Barkov said after the Panthers ended their road schedule with a 4-1 win in Boston on Saturday. "It would have been nice to play in the playoffs, but it's not this year. We just need to finish the season strong and build up for the next season."

While Barkov and Huberdeau chase franchise records, the final week of the season also offers several other players the opportunity to continue building upon career-high point totals, such as Mike Hoffman (69 points), Evgenii Dadonov (68), Keith Yandle (60) and Frank Vatrano (38).

With history on the line, these are simply games no fan should miss.

"These guys are fighting until the end," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said of his team. "It's no surprise. I thought they would… There's a lot of character in that room. It's nice to see them coming together."

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

THE GAMES

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

Florida will kick off its final homestand of the season when it hosts the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals (47-24-8) on Monday at BB&T Center. Washington enters the week riding a four-game winning streak, including a stunning 6-3 beatdown at Tampa Bay on Saturday. As usual, the Capitals are led by their captain, Alexander Ovechkin, who paces the league with 51 goals - the eighth 50-goal campaign of his career. However, even without Ovechkin, the team boasts six other 20-goal scorers this season in T.J. Oshie (25), Jakub Vrana (23), Tom Wilson (22), Brett Connolly (22), Nicklas Backstrom (21) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (20). For the Panthers, who are 2-0-0 against the Capitals this season, look for Troy Brouwer to do some damage both on the scoresheet and along the boards in this one, as the 33-year-old veteran winger not only leads the team with a whopping 166 hits, but has also lit the lamp in each of the last two games.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 850 WFTL (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

In-Arena Activations: Autism Awareness Night with South Florida Ford, Player Favorite Things Baskets Up For Auction, 50% Off 25th Anniversary Merchandise in Pantherland

Tickets: HERE

Thursday: New York Islanders, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will go for another season-series sweep when they host the Islanders (46-26-7) on Thursday at BB&T Center. Florida has won each of its two previous meetings against New York, including a 4-2 victory in Sunrise during their last battle on Nov. 10. The Isles enter the week with wins in four of their last five games, including a 5-1 throttling of Buffalo on Saturday. The NHL's top-defensive team, they are allowing just 2.38 goals per game this season behind the play of their outstanding goaltending duo of Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss, who boast save percentages of .928 and .926, respectively. For the Panthers, look for Mike Hoffman to break through that brick wall in net, as the 29-year-old winger leads the club with a career-high 35 goals, including 17 on the power play, which places him tied for fourth-most in the league.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 850 WFTL (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

In-Arena Activations: $5 Beer Thursday, Jerseys Off Our Backs Night, Player Favorite Things Baskets Up For Auction, 50% Off 25th Anniversary Merchandise in Pantherland, Air and Sea Show Poster Giveaway

Tickets: HERE

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

The Panthers will wave farewell to the 2018-19 campaign and close the book on their season when they host the Devils (29-40-10) on Saturday at BB&T Center. New Jersey, which is poised to finish in last place in the Metropolitan Division, enters the week with losses in five of its last seven games, scoring one-or-fewer goals four times in that span. Kyle Palmieri leads the team in both goals (27) and points (50), but is currently mired in a seven-game point drought. As for the Panthers, keep an eye on Keith Yandle in this contest, as the 32-year-old defenseman will attempt to crack New Jersey's fourth-ranked penalty kill. Ranking first among Florida's D-men with a career-high 60 points, Yandle's franchise-record 38 power-play points - which currently are the third-most in the NHL this season - have fueled the club's second-ranked power play.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 850 WFTL (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

In-Arena Activations: Fan Appreciation Night with Walmart, Player Favorite Things Baskets Up For Auction, 50% Off 25th Anniversary Merchandise in Pantherland

Tickets: HERE

MILESTONE WATCH

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

- Vincent Trocheck is one goal away from his 100th NHL goal.

- Mike Hoffman is one point away from his 300th NHL point.

JEREYS OFF OUR BACKS

How lucky are you feeling this week?

When the Panthers host their annual "Jerseys Off Our Backs Night" on April 4, you could be randomly selected to a win game-worn jersey and participate in a special on-ice presentation following the team's matchup against the New York Islanders by simply being in your seat.

Each member of the Panthers active roster will personally present one fan with a jersey, while one mystery jersey and one Stanley C. Panther jersey will also be available for auction outside of Club Lexus. The proceeds from those auctions with go to the Florida Panthers Foundation.

But even if you don't bring home a jersey, no fan will leave empty handed, as everyone in attendance will receive a poster from the Fort Lauderdale Air & Sea Show after the game. 

FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT

With the season coming to an end, it's time to thank the fans that make the arena come to life.

Throughout their season finale against the New Jersey Devils on April 6, the Panthers will be giving away gifts such as tickets to concerts and shows, electronics, gift cards and much more as part of the team's annual "Fan Appreciation Night," which is being presented by Walmart.

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: #FlaPanthers Fan Appreciation Week kicks off this Monday as the Cats take on the Washington Capitals! Come say hey �� https://t.co/wxuKr7YRuK pic.twitter.com/lSBmel3AvS

There will also be prizes from:

- Bokampers

- Fanatics

- Hoffman's Chocolates

- JetBlue

- Koffee Kult

- Riboli Family Wines

- Walmart

We look forward to seeing you there!

CATS CAR RAFFLE WINNER

Speaking of fan appreciation, we'd also like to take a moment to congratulate Kenneth Aiello, the winner of the "Cats Car Raffle," who just received their new Ford! A big thanks to everyone who entered and supported our Florida Panthers Foundation.

AUTISM AWARENESS NIGHT

The Panthers will host their annual Autism Awareness Night on April 1.

During their matchup against the Washington Capitals, a private sensory-friendly lounge will be available for all families in need throughout the evening. Additionally, a portion of all ticket sales that are purchased through this link  will also go to Autism Speaks.

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: We're partnering with @soflaford and @autismspeaks for Autism Awareness Night on 4/1!#Ford4Autism �� https://t.co/JURboL8UzL pic.twitter.com/7BJfrX6C3A

In honor of National Autism Awareness Day's "Light It Up Blue" campaign, the Panthers will also be turning all of their social media accounts blue for the evening. Additionally, the team's in-arena game presentation will also feature numerous #LIUB and Autism Awareness facts.

All game long, fans are encouraged to use #Ford4Autism on all of their Twitter and Instagram posts, as South Florida Ford will donate $5 to Autism Speaks every time the hashtag is used.

CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK

From the bus to the ice, we followed along with Brady Keeper during his NHL debut.

Video: Welcome to the NHL: Brady Keeper

CATS IN THE COMMUNITY

Tweet from @PalmBeachZoo: Shoutout to our keepers & staff for representing during Panther Conservation Night with @FlaPanthers! Visit Sassy during your next visit! #ThePalmBeaches #ilovewpb pic.twitter.com/8rjuKEg9dT

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Cats hockey + @funkybuddhabrew = a perfect Saturday afternoon 🙌 pic.twitter.com/UWmNwNIEwb

Tweet from @SunrisePoliceFL: Our Explorers are out this week working hard during a Competition in Hialeah Gardens. A lot of study & practice goes into these events. We even had a friend come visit! #Sunrisepolicefl #CityofSunrise #ExplorerPost #policeexplorers #competition #floridapanthers #hockey pic.twitter.com/ThsSPSh4ov

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

-- Make sure to bid on "Favorite Things Baskets" during this week's homestand!

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: We'll be auctioning and raffling off player's favorite things baskets at all three home games in April! All proceeds will benefit the #FlaPanthers Foundation �� https://t.co/wxuKr7HgDc pic.twitter.com/TzILN8BVw5

-- The Panthers are helping the Florida Wildlife Federation provide the team's namesake with safe passage throughout South Florida.

-- Miss anything from Saturday's win in Boston? Catch up with "5 Takeaways!"

-- It's safe to say that Brady Keeper's NHL debut was a bit emotional.

-- The Panthers have announced new "Adult Learn to Play" sessions!

-- On the latest episode of Territory Talk, new Panthers defenseman Brady Keeper sits down to chat with Doug Plagens and Jameson Olive about his incredible journey from Cross Lake, Manitoba to the NHL.

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