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Cats and Coffee: Panthers Hope to Ride Momentum

by Jameson Olive JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

Recap: NYI 2, FLA 3 - F/OT

Malgin's OT winner leads Panthers past Isles, 3-2

Jonathan Marchessault tied the game late in regulation then Denis Malgin scored the overtime winner to defeat the Islanders, 3-2

  • 03:58 •

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.

The Florida Panthers are heading on the road this week hoping to put some distance between themselves and the .500 mark as they attempt to ride the momentum from Saturday's thrilling overtime victory against the New York Islanders into the Great White North. 

"If we would have lost tonight, it would have been really tough," head coach Gerard Gallant said. "You're two games under .500, going on the road for four games against some real good hockey clubs. It's big. It's a big win for our team tonight. Tomorrow, we have to get read to go on the road and get ready to play again."

The Panthers (7-7-1) will begin their four-game road trip with three contests across the border in Canada, starting with tough matchup against the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. From there, the Cats visit the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators before heading to New York for a meeting with the Rangers on Sunday.

After an unexpectedly slow start to their 2016-17 campaign, the Panthers feel that they may have finally turned a corner after climbing out of a 2-0 hole against Islanders last week. Jonathan Marchessault tied the game with 13.6 seconds left in regulation and rookie center Denis Malgin scored late in overtime, helping the Panthers defeat the Islanders 3-2.

Video: NYI@FLA: Malgin nets a redirect for late OT win

"It was a tough game for everybody, with the way things were going and the bounces and the calls and all that kinds of stuff," goaltender Roberto Luongo said. "But good teams, that's what they do -- they stick with it, they overcome adversity, no matter what that is.

"Whether it's calls, bounces, whatever it is, you find ways to grind and get back into it. That's a sign of a good team. Tonight's a good win for our club and hopefully we'll build off of it."

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

THE GAMES

Tuesday: at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m.

The Panthers will likely face their toughest test of the season when they visit the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens (13-2-1) at the Bell Centre on Tuesday. The Canadiens currently boast the league's second-ranked defense, allowing a meager 2.06 goals-per game on average, thanks in large part to the return of 2015 Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price in net. The Panthers, who owned a 4-0-0 record against Montreal last season, should expect a nice performance from Aleksander Barkov in this contest, as the 21-year-old center has 15 points (10-5-15) in 12 career games against the Canadiens.

Panthers vs.Canadiens this season: 0-0-0
TV: FSF Radio: English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); Spanish: 990 WMYM (Dade/Broward)


Thursday: at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m.

The Panthers will be looking for revenge when they visit the Maple Leafs (6-6-3) at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday. In their only previous meeting this season, the Maple Leafs defeated the Panthers 3-2 behind a three-point performance from rookie forward Mitch Marner on Oct. 27. Florida has won seven of its last 10 games against Toronto and should expect to find the back of the net early and often in this contest as the Maple Leafs currently own the leagues' 28th-ranked defense, allowing 3.60 goals per game on average. Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, who recorded his 300th career NHL assist last week, has 10 points (1-9-10) in 12 career games against Toronto.

Panthers vs. Maple Leafs this season 0-1-0
TV: FSF
Radio: English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); Spanish: 990 WMYM (Dade/Broward)


Saturday: at Ottawa Senators, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will get their first look at the Senators (9-5-1) when they visit the Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday. The Panthers, who owned a 3-2-0 record against Ottawa last season, will likely secure a win if they can manage to score just three goals, as the Senators have scored two-or-fewer goals in nine of their last 10 games. In this contest, look for Vincent Trocheck to play a large role in Florida's offense, as the 23-year-old center has nine points (3-6-9) in seven career games against the Senators.


Panthers vs. Senators this season: 0-0-0
TV: FSF Radio: English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); Spanish: 990 WMYM (Dade/Broward)


Sunday: at New York Rangers, 5:00 p.m.

The Panthers will get their first look at the boys from the Big Apple when they battle the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers (12-4-0) at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. The Panthers, who owned a 1-1-1 record against New York last season, will need to stay out of the penalty box in this contest, as Rangers currently boast the league's ninth-ranked power play (21.6 percent). On offense, look for Jaromir Jagr to help the Panthers find the back of the net, as the 44-year-old forward has 88 points (29-59-88) in 72 career games against the Rangers. 
  
Panthers vs. Rangers this season: 0-0-0
TV: FSF Radio: English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); Spanish: 990 WMYM (Dade/Broward)


HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER

As part of a new partnership with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Panthers hosted 23-year-old cancer patient Matthew Lehrman for Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Saturday.

"Tough battle fighting cancer, but as long as you have a positive attitude you can accomplish anything and concur any illness that you face." Said Lehrman, who dropped the game's ceremonial first puck.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth - the University of Miami Health System and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is South Florida's only Cancer Center of Excellence.


MILESTONE WATCH

- Panthers center Derek MacKenzie is one points shy of 100 for his career.

- Panthers forward Shawn Thornton is two points shy of 100 for his career.

- Panthers center Vincent Trocheck is one assists shy of 50 for his career.

- Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is two assists shy of 50 for his career.

- Panthers forward Reilly Smith is eight assists shy of 150 for his career.

- Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen is five assists shy of 350 for his career.

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)


- The Panthers adopted another unique military tradition prior to last week's tilt against the San Jose Sharks, handing out "Commander Coins" to each player during a private pre-game ceremony at the BB&T Center
 
"I could tell that the players were really thrilled," Team President and CEO Matthew Caldwell said. "I think they were really touched to be a part of a military tradition that is very important to their owner. We were really excited to share that."

- The Panthers claimed forward Seth Griffith off of waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs

- Panthers rookie center Denis Malgin, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime against the New York Islanders on Saturday, is already learning a lot from teammate Aleksander Barkov.

"Barky's 21 years old, but he's teaching the kid," coach Gerard Gallant said. "Barky's been excellent. He plays a two-way game for us and tries to help the kids out. That's really important to have from some of your veteran players. Even though they're still young players, they try to help the kids out."

- The Panthers acquired defenseman Dylan McIlrath, nicknamed "The Undertaker", from the New York Rangers last week. 

 

 

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