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.
This Thanksgiving, make sure to enjoy some slap shots with your stuffing.
After a three-game road trip through California, the Florida Panthers will return to Sunrise for a pair of holiday games this week against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks at BB&T Center.
The Panthers (7-11-2) have won two of their last four games, but ended their most recent trip with a 3-2 loss in Anaheim, despite pelting goaltender John Gibson with a season-high 52 shots on goal.
"We're running into hot goalies," defenseman Keith Yandle said after the loss. "We're getting opportunities. It comes down to a couple of bounces. I thought our effort was great and we played hard, but it's never fun losing."
Florida, which own a 4-3-2 record at home this season, enter this week seven points behind the Detroit Red wings for third place in the Atlantic Division with one game in hand.
Here's everything you need to know for the week ahead…
Wednesday: Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:00 p.m.
The Panthers will host the Maple Leafs (14-7-0) in a pre-Turkey Day matchup at the BB&T Center on Wednesday. Toronto enters the week with a firm grasp on second place in the Atlantic Division - 12 points ahead of the Panthers. Led by the dynamic top-line duo of Auston Matthews and William Nylander, the Leafs boast the league's second-ranked offense (3.71 goals per game) and ninth-ranked power play (21.7 percent). For the Panthers, look for Vincent Trocheck to help Florida match Toronto's offensive output, as the team's second-line center has scored a club-leading nine goals this season.
Special Offer: $5 Beer Night
Panthers vs. Maple Leafs in 2016-17: 1-3-1
Radio: 560 WQAM (DADE/BROWARD); 640 WMEN (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS); 1370 WAXE (TREASURE COAST)
Saturday: Chicago Blackhawks, 7:00 p.m.
The Panthers will return from their brief Thanksgiving hiatus to host the always-dangerous Blackhawks (10-8-2) at the BB&T Center on Saturday. Chicago has won five of its last eight games, including a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. In this contest, Florida's penalty kill will need to be on point, as the Blackhawks have scored five goals over their past three games with the man advantage. For that reason, look for Keith Yandle and Aaron Ekblad to pave the way to Florida's victory, as the defensive duo currently leads the Panthers in total shorthanded ice time.
Panthers vs. Blackhawks in 2016-17: 1-0-1
Radio: 880 WZAB (DADE/BROWARD); 850 WFTL (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS); 1370 WAXE (TREASURE COAST)
- Aleksander Barkov is eight points away from his 200th NHL point.
- Jamie McGinn is eight points away from his 200th NHL point.
- Colton Sceviour is eight points away from his 100th NHL point.
GIFT OF LIFE DONATION DRIVE
Gift of Life will be hosting a special bone marrow recruitment drive at BB&T Center on Wednesday, Nov. 22, when the Panthers host the Toronto Maple Leafs.
An international public bone marrow and blood stem cell registry, Gift of Life is a world leader in facilitating transplants for children and adults suffering from many life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma. "It's so incredible to have partnership with the Florida Panthers," said Gift of Life's Director of Development Robyn Malek.
The swabbing will take place from when doors open to the end of the second intermission inside of South Main doors and in the Den of Honor. While some donations are still taken directly from bone barrow, Malek said the process is a lot less scary than it used to be, as 80 percent of the time the process is much like simply giving blood.
"You have the ability to save another human beings life by giving four hours of your day," Malek said.
If you are between the ages of 18 to 45 but are unable to attend the game, you may register and order a swab kit online HERE.
SKATE IN SOUTH FLORIDA
The Panthers, the City of Fort Lauderdale and Hoffman's Chocolates are hosting two outdoor ice skating rinks in South Florida during this holiday season - yes, with REAL ice!
The Palm Beach rink is currently open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Fort Lauderdale rink, which is scheduled to open Nov. 26 and run through Jan. 7, 2018, will have the same hours of operation.
Santa Claus, taking time out of his busy schedule, is scheduled to appear at the Palm Beach rink starting Nov. 24 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Starting Dec. 14, he will be there every night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For addresses and admission prices, please visit FloridaPanthers.com/holidayrinks.
PANTHERLAND SALE & HOLIDAY PLAN
Are you in need of gifts or stocking stuffers for the Panther fans in your life?
Well, you're in luck!
There will be plenty of deals and discounts on everything from jerseys to stuffed animals available at Pantherland on Black Friday. The store will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., but make sure to keep an eye on @FlaPanthers on Twitter for updates throughout the week.
If you're more into giving amazing experiences, however, then head on over to FloridaPanthers.com/holidayplan to purchase that special someone a Florida Panthers Holiday Plan ticket package.
The Holiday Plan is a limited time offer that includes two tickets to three games, parking for each game, two holiday themed T-Shirts and one autographed puck.
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
- The Panthers loaned forward Curtis Valk to Springfield (AHL).
- 2016 fourth-round pick Jonathan Ang recently signed his entry-level contract with the Panthers.
- There's no better place to host a holiday party than the BB&T Center! Follow the link in the Tweet below to learn more about our holiday suite packages.