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On Heels of Historic Win, Panthers Riding High Into Matchup with Jets

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

11/14/19 Morning Skate

11/14/19 Morning Skate

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck and defenseman Josh Brown.

  • 01:25 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- On the heels of a thrilling and historic win in Boston, the Florida Panthers will now look to turn that growing momentum into another two points in the standings when they kick off a four-game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets at BB&T Center on Thursday night.

Trailing 4-0 entering the third period against the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins, the Panthers mounted the biggest comeback in franchise history. After Keith Yandle tied the game late in regulation to force overtime, Mike Hoffman and Vincent Trocheck each scored in the shootout, while rookie goaltender Sam Montembeault stood tall to help secure a 5-4 win on Tuesday.

"I think it's a confidence booster," said Trocheck, who leads the team with three goals in the shootout. "Going down four goals is never ideal, but we showed a lot of resilience in coming back. It showed us that we're capable of doing what we did. It gives us a little bit of confidence that we haven't had in the past. Even when we go down a couple goals, this team still thinks we're going to win the game. That's the big difference between our team now and in the past."

Still, Trocheck said the Panthers aren't savoring the win too much.

"We're trying to focus on every game just one at a time," he said. "You can't get too high on wins like that and you can't get too low on losses. I think coming into tonight, it's a new game. We're focused on Winnipeg and have to make sure we're playing the right way."

After playing a bit together in Boston, Trocheck will be centering a new-look second line tonight, one that features Brian Boyle and Brett Connolly on his wings. Additionally, some changes were also made on the third line, where Denis Malgin will center wingers Frank Vatrano and Hoffman.

When asked about the lineup change, Trocheck said he's really looking forward to playing with some "puck hounds" and that the trio should especially provide some added value in the faceoff circle. During their three-game road trip, Florida was dominant in the dot, winning 57.1 percent of its draws, with Trocheck going 17-for-26 (65.4 percent) and Boyle going 25-of-37 (67.6 percent).

Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said both Trocheck and Boyle will take faceoffs on that line.

"Faceoffs are huge," Trocheck said. "You start with the puck, obviously. If you lose a draw in the D-zone, it's obviously going to turn into a chance on offense for the other team. The faceoff circle is huge. We want to make sure that we continue to work on [that area] and stay strong."

One line that continues to remain untouched is the Panthers dynamic top unit of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov. Barkov and Huberdeau are tied for the team-lead and rank eighth in the league in points with 24, while Dadonov has registered 16.

Over the last six games, that lethal trio has combined for 11 goals and 13 assists.

"They've been better," Quenneville said of the line. "I think they have the puck more. More offensive zone time and possession. They've been more effective in all zones. They've been checking better, having the puck more. When they have the puck more, that's their strength."

Huberdeau in particular has been on a tear as of late, entering tonight's matchup on a six-game point streak while notching four goals and seven assists in that span. With one more assist, the 26-year-old winger will surpass Stephen Weiss for the most assists in franchise history with 250.

"I'm fortunate to have been here since my draft and to have started with a great organization," said Huberdeau, who leads the team with nine goals. "Obviously moving into first is going to be a great accomplishment. After that, it's just up to us to keep going and get into the playoffs."

The Jets (10-8-1) have won four of their last six games, but enter tonight's contest coming off a 4-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. In the loss, Winnipeg was blanked by rookie goaltender Adam Werner, who denied all 40 shots he faced to earn a shutout in his NHL debut.

"I'm not walking away from this one too dejected," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice told reporters after the loss. "Two years of being an absolutely dominant home team, and I'm not sure we can expect that, but that's fine. Because we've been pretty tight and pretty good on the road. We're going to have to scratch and claw wherever the puck's dropped."

Mark Scheifele leads the Jets in scoring with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists). Over his last five games, the 26-year-old center has picked up three goals. Patrik Laine has 15 points and leads the team with 11 assists, while Nikolaj Ehlers has tallied 14 points, including seven goals.

Despite owning the league's 26th-ranked offense (2.58 goals per game), the Jets have recorded at least three goals in five out of their last seven games. In that stretch of games, Kyle Connor has been carrying a hot stick on offense, racking up two goals and five assists or seven points.

"They've got some good scorers and some great speed, too," Panthers defenseman Josh Brown said of tonight's challenge. "I think it starts with having good gaps and just trying to not let them in the zone in the first place. We also want to play them physically down low, for sure."

Sergei Bobrovsky, who sits at 6-3-4, is expected to start in net for Florida. Winnipeg has yet to announce a goalie, but Connor Hellebuyck, who owns an 8-6-1 record, could potentially start.

The Panthers (9-4-5) will play 14 of their next 16 games on home ice.

"Let's be excited about playing at home and let's play the right way," Quenneville said.


-- The Panthers have at least one power-play goal in each of their last seven games. In that span, they've converted a league-best 33.3 percent of their chances with the extra attacker.

-- Aleksander Barkov enters tonight's contest on a six-game point streak, tallying five goals and six assists in that time. The 24-year-old center is tied for the Panthers scoring lead with 24 points, including a team-best 19 assists, which ranks tied for fourth-most in the league.

-- Evgenii Dadonov ranks second in goals (8) and third in points (16) on Florida. The 30-year-old winger has been producing at a point-per-game clip over his last nine games, posting four goals and five assists in that span.

-- Keith Yandle enters tonight's matchup riding a three-game point streak and paces Florida's defensemen in scoring with 13 points, including one goal and eight assists over his last seven games. The NHL's active iron man, the 33-year-old has competed in 815 consecutive regular-season games.

-- Mike Hoffman leads the Panthers in shots (53) and is tied for first in power-play goals (4).

-- Aaron Ekblad has posted eight points (two goals, six assists) over his last 12 games.

-- Dryden Hunt leads the Panthers in hits (33); Anton Stralman has the most blocks (27).

-- Joel Quenneville is one win away from 900 as an NHL head coach.



Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov

Brian Boyle - Vincent Trocheck - Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano - Denis Malgin - Mike Hoffman

Dryden Hunt - Noel Acciari - Colton Sceviour


Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson - Anton Stralman

Mark Pysyk - Josh Brown


Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratches: MacKenzie Weegar (upper-body), Jayce Hawryluk (upper-body)


- Nov. 11: F Dominic Toninato was loaned to AHL Springfield.

- Nov. 6: F Dominic Toninato was recalled from AHL Springfield.

- Nov. 6: D Riley Stillman was loaned to AHL Springfield.


- 50/50 Raffle 

- $5 Beer Thursday

- Grateful Dead Night

- Student Rush

- Harvest Drive (Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food to the JetBlue Tarmac)


-- Souvenir Ice Cream Helmet for $9


When: Thursday, Nov. 14, 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: BB&T Center - Sunrise, FL


Stream: FOX Sports GO

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

Tickets: HERE

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