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Cats and Coffee: Panthers Look to Stay Perfect

by Jameson Olive JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

Red Wings downed by Panthers, 4-1

DET Recap: Little offense for Red Wings in 4-1 loss

Darren Helm provided the lone goal and Petr Mrazek made 34 saves for the Red Wings in a 4-1 loss to the Panthers

  • 03:24 •

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 enter this week looking to build off a perfect 2-0-0 start to their 2016-17 campaign - the team's best start to the regular season in a decade.

"We've got a lot of new guys on our team and to see the way we played the first two games for six periods, I thought we played great hockey," Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant said. "It's good to see. I'm sure they're real excited and real happy. It was two good wins for us."

The Panthers defeated the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings last week by a combined score of 5-2, winning both games thanks to stellar performances from many of the team's newcomers and, of course, goaltender Roberto Luongo.

"He's been great," Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle said of Luongo, who moved into sole possession of sixth place on the NHL's all-time list with his 438th NHL victory on Saturday. "Playing against him, you know how good he is. Playing with him, you realize how much he helps the defense back there and makes great plays. He's fun to play in front of."

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

 

THE GAMES

Tuesday: at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m.

The Panthers will make their visit first cross-state visit to the Gulf Coast on Tuesday for what is expected to be a heated battle against the Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay. The Panthers, who owned a 4-1-0 record against the Lightning last season, will likely turn to forward former Lightning forward Jonathan Marchessault to lead the offense in this contest. Marchessault, who skated in 45 games with Tampa Bay last season, currently leads the Panthers with four points (2-2-4) through two games this season, including a career-high three points in Saturday's victory over New Jersey.

Panthers vs. Lightning this season: 0-0-0
TV: FSF Radio: English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 97.7 WAVK (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast) 


Thursday: Washington Capitals, 7:30 p.m.

After a quick stop in Tampa Bay, the Panthers will return home to host the Washington Capitals at the BB&T Center on Thursday. The Panthers, who owned a 2-1-0 record against the Capitals last season, will likely need to rely heavily on their new-look defense in this contest in order to stifle Washington's high-octane offense led by Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Luckily, Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk, who was acquired this summer in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres, has helped limit opponents to only one scoring chance at even strength when he's been on the ice this season.

Panthers vs. Capitals this season 0-0-0
TV: FSF
Radio: English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 97.7 WAVK (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast) 


Saturday: Colorado Avalanche, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will see their first action against the Western Conference this season when they host the Colorado Avalanche at the BB&T Center on Saturday. The Panthers, who owned a 1-1-0 record against the Avalanche last season, will likely turn to top-line center Aleksander Barkov to spark the offense in this contest. Barkov, who was selected one pick after Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon in the 2013 NHL Draft, has tallied three points (2-1-3) in four career games against the Avalanche.

Panthers vs. Avalanche this season: 0-0-0
TV: FSF Radio: English: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beaches); 97.7 WAVK (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast) 


RUNNING WITH THE RAT

In conjunction with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Panthers will be holding a special Viktor E. Dash 5K race on Saturday to show their support for the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer initiatives.

The race will take place at the BB&T Center and begin at 8:00 AM with race packet pick-up on site starting at 7:00 AM. The family fun run/walk will begin at 8:45 AM.

All registered racers will receive one ticket to either the Panthers vs. Avalanche game on Oct. 22, 2016 or the Panthers vs. Devils game on Nov. 3, 2016. Each racer will also receive a special Viktor E. Dash T-Shirt and custom finishers medal, with the top-3 in each age group receiving special recognition.

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Thinking of running the Viktor E. Dash? ��(You should.)Here's the first look at the 5k t-shirt!Register here ����https://t.co/V94ORfuecy pic.twitter.com/WK7K2955b9

GRATEFUL DEAD NIGHT

In a very groovy move, the Panthers will be hosting the NHL's first Grateful Dead Tribute Night when they face off against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday at the BB&T Center.

Grateful Dead tribute act Unlimited Devotion will kick off the festivities with a pre-game performance beginning at 5:30 pm at the New Times Bandstand in the Coors Light Cold Zone.

A portion of each ticket will be donated to The Rex Foundation, one of The Grateful Dead's favorite non-profit organizations, and a special limited edition T-shirt will be given out to fans that buy tickets for the game using the special promo code created just for Deadheads (Hint: the code is GRATEFUL).

To purchase tickets, click here.

MILESTONE WATCH

- Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle is three assists shy of 300 for his career.

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

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

- Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr is one goal shy of 750 for his career.

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

- The Panthers will be hosting five watch parties at Bokamper's Bar & Grill this season. The first official watch party will take place on Oct. 18 at Bokamper's in Fort Lauderdale where fans can watch the Panthers battle the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. 

- The Panthers donned No. 16 jerseys prior to their Opening Night matchup with the New Jersey Devils to honor late Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. The Marlins, who accepted a $35,000 check to the Jose Fernandez foundation prior to puck drop, took to Twitter after the game to show their appreciation. 

- Learn how former Jr. Panther goaltender Michael Reed is joining the Panthers througha unique partnership with his up-and-coming bourbon company, American Barrels. 

- Derek MacKenzie has been named the ninth captain in franchise history. 

"Derek embodies the type of character and work ethic we want a Florida Panther to possess," Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon said. "He is a respected leader both on and off the ice in this organization and within the South Florida community. We are very excited to move forward with Derek as our team's captain."

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