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Cats & Coffee: Something Special's Brewing

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!

Aleksander Barkov has a good feeling about this season.

"It feels great right now," the Florida Panthers captain said. "I feel like this is something special."

Those inspiring words came right after the had Panthers bested cross-state rival Tampa Bay by a score of 4-3 to pick up their first win of the season in front of a raucous crowd at BB&T Center - "The crowd got us going," Barkov said. -- during Saturday night's exhilarating Home Opener.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves and Mike Hoffman had a hat trick to help lead Florida to its win over the Lightning, who won last year's Presidents' Trophy with franchise-record 128 points.

Video: TBL@FLA: Hoffman records second career hatty

"We wanted to come out and have a strong presence on home ice," Hoffman said. "The fans were into the game right from the start. It was a fun building to play in, and we wanted to put on a good performance for them. Throughout the whole lineup, everyone was there ready to go."

The win also marked the first under new head coach Joel Quenneville.

"Obviously it was a great win," said Quenneville, who was hired by the Panthers in April after leading Chicago to Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015. "There was a lot of enthusiasm on the bench the whole game, a lot of talking on the ice, doing whatever it took to get the job done."

Off to a good start after splitting their home-and-home series with Tampa Bay, the Panthers will look to keep piling up the points this week in matchups against Carolina, Buffalo and New York.

After wrapping up their two-game homestand against the Hurricanes on Tuesday, they'll hit the road for a back-to-back set with the Sabres and Islanders on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

"I think moving forward we're going to get better and better every day," Barkov said.

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

THE GAMES

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

The Panthers will close out their brief two-game homestand against the undefeated Hurricanes (3-0-0) at BB&T Center on Tuesday night. Carolina enters the week fresh off a 4-3 overtime win over Tampa Bay. With Jaccob Slavin's goal 1:53 into the extra frame, the Hurricanes improved to 3-0-0 for only the second time in franchise history. Dougie Hamilton, who had a goal and an assist to earn first-star honors against the Lightning, is tied with Andrei Svechnikov for the team-scoring lead with four points. Erik Haula, meanwhile, paces the club with four goals. As for the Panthers, there's no better player to keep an eye on in this contest than Mike Hoffman. With four goals in just two games to start the season, few players in the league are hotter right now. The 29-year-old sniper also leads the team in points (4) and is tied for power-play points (2).

TV: FSF

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

In-Arena Activations: 50/50 Raffle; Foundation Auction Outside Club Lexus; Nacho Tot Tuesday, Cats & Dogs calendar available in Pantherland and tables outside Club Lexus

Tickets: HERE

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

The Panthers will kick off a three-game road trip against the Sabres (2-0-0) at KeyBank Center on Friday night. Buffalo enters the week on the heels of a dominating 7-2 win over New Jersey, which gave the team its first 2-0-0 start since the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season. In the win, Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart each scored twice, while Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner had a goal and assist each. Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, a finalist for the Calder Trophy last season, currently leads the Sabres in scoring with four points (one goals, three assists). Speaking of the Calder Trophy, Jonathan Huberdeau, who took home the award in 2013, usually finds his way onto the scoresheet against the Sabres. In 26 career battles with Buffalo, the 26-year-old sniper has registered nine goals and 16 assists. In two games so far this season, he has two assists.

TV: FSF

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

Saturday: at New York Islanders, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will wrap up their first back-to-back set of the season when they visit the Islanders (1-1-0) at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night. New York tallied its first win of the season on Sunday, topping Winnipeg by a score of 4-1. Thomas Greiss stopped 35 of 36 shots against the Jets, while Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier all found the back of the net. Beauvillier, who is in his fourth professional season, currently leads the Islanders in scoring with three points (one goal, two assists). On the other side of the ice, all eyes should be on Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov. The 24-year-old center has produced at a point-per-game clip in his career against New York, notching five goals and nine assists in 14 games. After leading the team and setting a new franchise record with 96 points (35 goals, 61 assists) in 2018-19, Barkov has recorded one assist through two games so far this season.

TV: FSF

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

MILESTONE WATCH

- Keith Yandle is one game away from competing in his 800th consecutive NHL contest.

- Anton Stralman is five assists away from his 200th NHL assist.

- Aaron Ekblad is seven games away from his 400th NHL game.

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

INSIDE THE BOARDS

There's a new place to buy game-worn gear from all of your favorite Panthers.

Located on Plaza Level near Section 122 within BB&T Center, the newly opened "Inside the Boards" merchandise store will be open for all home games this season. With a behind-the-scenes feel of the team's locker room, the store offers game-used and game-issued items.

Some of the items that you'll find available for purchase in the store include player autographed memorabilia, game-used sticks, authentic jerseys, collector's items, and game-used equipment.

Fresh goodies will also arrive to the store every game, as the pucks used during warm-ups of each Panthers home game will go straight from the ice at BB&T Center to the store's shelves. Whether you want to snap some pictures or pick up a piece of Panthers history, "Inside the Boards" is the place to be.

HAT TRICK SUITE PACKAGE

If you're never going to score a hat trick like Mike Hoffman, this isn't a bad substitute.

With the new "Hat Trick Suite Package," fans that purchase a suite to any three games of their choosing will also receive brand-new Panthers hats for their entire group in addition to all of the usual suite accommodations, such as food, beverage, parking, a special welcome message.

To purchase or request more information about this package, click HERE.

THE VALUE PACK IS BACK

The "Sahlen's Red Hot Value Pack" is back!

With select games available throughout the season, fans are able to purchase the pack starting at a minimum of four tickets. With each ticket comes with a hot dog, soda, popcorn and parking.

The hot dog, course, comes from our friends over at Sahlen's.

To learn more about the value pack see what games are available, click HERE.

CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK

Sergei Bobrovsky had an early "Save of the Year" entry in Saturday's win over Tampa Bay. 

Video: TBL@FLA: Bobrovsky's gorgeous glove save on Kucherov

CATS IN THE COMMUNITY

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: We���re honored to welcome tonight���s @mossconstruct Community Champion @BGCofBroward! pic.twitter.com/GDONw5L6Nq

Tweet from @BrowardSTEM: Bringing @browardschools students the future of learning today with a spatial computing partnership with @magicleap. Thanks to @GFLAlliance @FlaPanthersCARE @FlaPanthers what will students #CREATE ? #FutureReady pic.twitter.com/LUycg29uuj

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Get your paws on our 2019-20 season Cats & Dogs calendar! Proceeds will benefit @FlaPanthersCare and @CatDogsInc. On sale now! 🐾More >> https://t.co/UJ8FDN5CZo pic.twitter.com/QlGZ3vqmeJ

TERRITORY TALK

Aleksander Barkov joined last week's episode of Territory Talk to discuss what he's already seeing from Sergei Bobrovsky, what it's like working with Joel Quenneville, and if he's finally satisfied with his NHL 20 rating. Also, Doug, Jameson and Katie make some fun predictions.

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

-- Miss anything from Saturday's win against the Lightning? Read "5 Takeaways" to catch up.

-- "Flex Plans" make it easy to fix a night at the rink into even the busiest of schedules.

-- Want to play roulette with Noel Acciari? Don't miss "Ice & Dice" Casino Night.

-- Run for a good cause at this year's Viktor E. Dash.

-- The Panthers recently announced a multi-year partnership with City Furniture.

-- Sam Montembeault's feeling like an NHL goaltender after getting his new mask in the mail.

-- Baptist Health is now the official Orthopedic, Sports Medicine & Virtual Care Provider for the Panthers and BB&T Center.

-- With last season's injury behind him, Vincent Trocheck is ready to bounce back.

-- Have you checked out the new True Vodka Lounge yet?

-- Florida's new in-arena mural came from an unlikely artist.

-- There's a new beer at BB&T Center! Make sure to try "Gloves Off Red IPA, Round 2" at the Funky Buddha Brewery Tap Room. 

-- Ed Jovanovski And Jeff Chychrun have joined FOX Sports Florida's broadcast team.

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