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Cats and Coffee: Panthers Look to Stay Hot

by Jameson Olive JamesonCoop /

Trocheck's breakaway goal

FLA@NSH: Trocheck forces turnover, finds twine in 2nd

Vincent Trocheck creates a turnover and pots a wrister over Pekka Rinne's glove on the ensuing breakaway, giving the Panthers a two-goal lead

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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.

Well that was a pretty wild weekend, eh?

Whether you attended the team's official watch party at Bokamper's in Plantation, or simply enjoyed the action from the comfort of your own couch, it's safe to say that Saturday's 7-4 victory over the Nashville Predators has Florida Panthers fans still feeling pretty, pretty good this morning.

"They were focused, they wanted to regroup from the other night, and that's the type of group they are," Panthers general manager and interim head coach Tom Rowe said of the victory. "It's a high-end character bunch of guys and they played great. They play the right way and when they play the right way they get rewarded."

After a tough loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the Panthers offense was firing on all cylinders against the Predators, scoring five-or-more goals for the fourth time this season, including three goals in a 2:29 span during the second period.

"It was a bounce-back game," said Panthers center Vincent Trocheck, who finished the game with two goals and an assist. "Obviously, we didn't play very well against L.A., so tonight was the night we needed to come and bounce back, and that's what we did."

With a victory against Nashville, the Panthers, who have won four of their last five games, currently sit six points behind Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division with four games in hand. Florida also trails Toronto by just three points for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

"After the way we played Thursday, this felt pretty good," said Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, who earned first-star honors with a goal and two assists. "This was a pretty good way to start things. We got the early goal, and we played well. There were a lot of goals scored, but we're proud of the way we played."

The Panthers (24-20-10) will now look to carry that good play into the remaining four games of their current five-game road trip, starting with three crucial games against San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles this week.

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


Wednesday: at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m.

The Panthers road trip will enter some very dangerous waters this week, as the team heads west to battle the Pacific Division-leading Sharks (34-18-5) at the SAP Center on Wednesday. The Sharks, who defeated the Panthers 4-2 at the BB&T Center on Nov. 10, are led by Norris Trophy front-runner Brent Burns, who currently ranks first in both points (59) and goals (24) among NHL defensemen. As they attempt to put a damper on San Jose's high-powered blue line, the Panthers will likely get some help from defensive-minded forward Michael Sgarbossa, who leads the team with 24.47 shots-allowed per 60 minutes.

Panthers vs. Sharks this season: 0-1-0
TV: FSF English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

Friday: at Anaheim Ducks, 10:00 p.m.

The Panthers will be going for a season sweep when they visit the Ducks (29-18-10) at the Honda Center on Friday. The Panthers, who defeated Anaheim 2-1 at the BB&T Center on Feb. 3, will once again be looking to get the better of Ducks goaltender John Gibson, who enters this week having lost five of his last seven starts. In this contest, look for Jonathan Huberdeau to attack Anaheim's net early and often, as the red-hot winger has recorded five points (2-3-5) in the three games since his return to Florida's lineup.

Panthers vs. Ducks this season 1-0-0
TV: FSF English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

Saturday: at Los Angeles Kings, 10:00 p.m.

Florida's three-game stint in the Golden State will come to an end on Saturday, when the team battles the Kings (28-23-4) at the Staples Center. The Panthers, who fell to Los Angeles 6-3 at the BB&T Center on Feb. 9, will need their offense to come up big in this contest, as the Kings currently own the league's fourth-ranked defense (2.42 goals-allowed per game). That being said, look for Aleksander Barkov to light the lamp for the Panthers in this contest, as the 21-year-old center has already scored two goals in the three games since his return from injury.

Panthers vs. Kings this season 0-1-0
TV: FSF English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)


Whether you're a fan DC's Justice League or Marvel's Avengers, there's one team of superheroes that we can all agree is definitely better than the rest when it comes to the NHL - the Panthers.

In an effort to celebrate the world of caped crusaders and otherworldly invaders, the Panthers will be hosting their first-ever Super Hero Night at the BB&T Center on Wednesday, Feb. 22, when the Edmonton Oilers come to town. 

With ticket packages starting as low as $25 per person, the night will feature appearances from your favorite heroes and villains, as well as exclusive photo opportunities and a limited edition t-shirt for each participant. 

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: We're back home on 2/22 for Superhero Night!(We'll do a limited run of these �� posters for sale, too���)Details ��


It's time celebrate everybody's favorite feline.

With Stanley C. Panther's birthday right around the corner, the Panthers are teaming up with Coca-Cola to host a very special party on Sunday, Feb. 26, when the Ottawa Senators visit the BB&T Center.

Want to enter for a chance to win four tickets to this VIP (Very Important Panther) party? 

All you have to do is wish Stanley a happy birthday!

Tweet from @StanleyCPanther: My B-Day is coming! You could even win 4 tickets to celebrate with me at the game on Feb. 26, as @CocaCola's guest,!


- Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr is one point away from 1,900 for his career.

- Panthers forward Jonathan Marchessault is four games away from 100 for his career.

- Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle is three points away from 400 for his career.

- Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is 10 points away from 100 for his career.

- Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo needs four victories to surpass Curtis Joseph for sole possession of fourth place on the NHL's all-time wins list.  


-- The Panthers are running a #HeartHealthySelfie contest throughout the month of February in order to raise awareness for heart disease. Fans are encouraged to post a selfie using #HeartHealthySelfie on Twitter and Facebook for a chance to win a selfie with a Panthers player. 

-- In his latest diary entry, Panthers defenseman Jason Demers talks about how having the team finally being at full health should bode well for Florida's playoff chances down the home stretch. 

"There's been a lot of people knocking us off and telling us that we're not going to make it to the playoffs," Demers writes. "There have also been a lot of negative comments this season, but everything internally, within the organization and our locker room, has been positive. I think we're all pulling together and the ship's going the right direction now."

-- As part of the third-annual Marlins Night, Derek Dietrich, as well as fellow Marlins players Tom Koehler, JT Realmuto and Dee Gordon, were the guests of honor as the Panthers battled the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at the BB&T Center.

"At the end of the day, it's about winning and fans," Dietrich said. "That's why we're here. We want to try and get as much support as we can leading up to the season. We want to show our faces and support another Florida team."

-- As the NHL continues to trend towards a more up-tempo game, highlighted by the emergence of smaller, fleet-footed blueliners, Ian McCoshen, who stands 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, isn't afraid to admit that playing staunch defense is still the first thing on his mind every time he steps onto the ice for the Springfield Thunderbirds. 

"I'm just trying to develop the defensive side of my game because that's probably what'll translate more to being in the NHL," said McCoshen, a second-round pick (31st overall) of the Panthers in the 2013 NHL Draft. "I'm trying to be a guy who's really hard to play against, a shutdown guy that's going to play against opponent's top lines. That's a really valuable skill to have and not everyone can do that."

-- Kyle Rau scored the first hat trick in Springfield Thunderbirds history last week. Read up on that amazing feat and more in our latest prospect report.

-- Need to get a present for that special someone in your life? The Panthers' Valentine's Day ticket package, which starts at just $29, is now on sale!

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