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Panthers @ Capitals Tonight at 7pm

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

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PLAYING THE CAPITALS: Florida and Washington have met 64 times in their history with the Cats leading the all-time series 26-25-9-4. Florida has won eight of its last 10 meetings with the Capitals including a perfect 4-0 record at the Verizon Center last season. Cats C Joe Nieuwendyk has 40 points (19-21-40) in 45 career games against Washington, while LW Gary Roberts has 41 points (20-21-40) in 48 career games against the Caps.

AFTER TONIGHT: After tonight's game, the Cats will begin a span of five games in seven days when they play host to Philadelphia at the BankAtlantic Center Friday night. Florida will then have a home-and-home series with the Thrashers, first in Atlanta Saturday night, followed by a game in South Florida Monday night. Following the home-and-home, the Cats hit the road to take on the Rangers, Devils and Islanders respectively on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

POWER PLAY: The Cats have now scored at least one power play goal in five of their six games this season including the last four. Overall, Florida is 8-of-28 (28.6%) with the man advantage, which ranks second best in the NHL. At home, the Cats have the best power play in the NHL scoring on six-of-15 power play opportunities. C Stephen Weiss has scored three PPG this season. He is one of only eight players in the NHL to have three or more PPG at this point in the season.

HOME SWEET HOME: Florida is 3-0 at home for the first time since the 1995-96 season. That year the Cats begin their home slate 4-0 and ended up in the Stanley Cup Finals. The BankAtlantic Center has been a welcoming place to the Panthers over the past 10 months. The Cats are 13-3-1 in their last 17 home contests and 24-6-4 on home ice since Nov. 25, 2005.

LEAGUE LEADERS: RW Todd Bertuzzi and C Olli Jokinen have put up impressive offensive numbers to begin the season. Jokinen has three goals and five assists for eight points in the Cats first six games which is tied for the third best point toal in the league. Bertuzzi has one goal and six assists in six games. His seven points are tied for 10th best in the NHL to this point.

850 POINTS: With two goals last Wednesday night, LW Gary Roberts recorded his 850th career NHL point. Roberts had an assist Friday night against Tampa Bay and now has 851 career points.

GAME WINNER: D Jay Bouwmeester scored the GWG on the power play Friday night against Tampa Bay. It was Bouwmeester's first goal of the year and his first career GWG.

300-CLUB: With his assist in the first period Opening Night against the Bruins, Panthers captain C Olli Jokinen recorded his 300th career NHL point. With eight points this season, Jokinen now has 301 points in his nine-season NHL career (136-165-301).

BIG SAVE: On Oct. 9 in Toronto, G Alex Auld faced a career high 49 shots, saving 48 of them. The 48 saves marks a new career high for saves in a game for the 26-year-old in his first year with the Cats. Auld now ranks 8th in the NHL with a .946 save percentage and is now 3-0-1 for the Cats in four starts.

SHUTOUT: With his next shutout, G Ed Belfour will tie Tony Esposito for eighth on the All-time shutout list with 76 career shutouts. Belfour, who's next win will give him a victory with five different clubs, has nine 30-win seasons, the third most in NHL history.

OFFENSIVE OPENER: The Cats put up eight goals in their season opener Oct. 6 against Boston. The eight goals is the most goals a Panthers team has every scored on Opening Night, home or away, in 13 season opening games. On Oct. 11 against Carolina, the Cats put up six goals, totaling 14 goals in the Panthers first two home games, the best two consecutive offensive home games in team history.

COACHING VICTORIES: Panthers GM and Head Coach Jacques Martin is nearing career coaching win No. 450. With the Cats third victory of the season Friday night, Martin is now three victories shy of 450. He has 447 career wins.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Oct. 6 marked the first time G Alex Auld was the starting goaltender for an NHL season opener. Auld picked up the victory stopping 34 shots to pick up his first win as a Panther.

STRONG START: Florida will look to get a quick start to the season as the Panthers franchise has a winning record of 52-48-22-9 in the month of October including this season. Last season the Cats went 6-5-1 in the opening month.

NEW FACES: Five Florida players made their Panthers debut Oct. 6 against Boston. RW Todd Bertuzzi, D Bryan Allen and G Alex Auld were acquired over the summer in a trade with Vancouver. D Ruslan Salei (Anaheim) and G Ed Belfour (Toronto) were picked up as unrestricted free agents. All 15 other players suited up tonight appeared on the Cats roster last season.

"NEW" SCORERS: The Panthers offseason acquisitions had a huge impact in Game 1 Oct. 6 against Boston. RW Todd Bertuzzi scored a game high four points (1-3-4). D Ruslan Salei had two assists, and G Alex Auld stopped 34 shots on goal to record his first win as a Panther.

CAREER NIGHTS: Through six games this season, four Panthers have tied career-highs for points in a game. Both RW Todd Bertuzzi and D Ruslan Salei tied career highs Oct. 6 against Boston. Bertuzzi tied a career high with four points (1-3-4). It was the first time he had recorded three assists since Dec. 9, 2003 vs. Pittsburgh. Salei tied a career high with two assists on Opening Night. He last accomplished the feat Nov. 30, 2005 vs. Phoenix. C Olli Jokinen tied a career high with four points (2-2-4) against Carolina and C Stephen Weiss also tied a career-high for points with three (1-2-3 vs. Carolina on Oct. 11.

BEST DEBUT EVER: Todd Bertuzzi had four points (one goal, three assists) in his Panthers debut Oct. 6. Bertuzzi is the first player to score more than two points in his first game for Florida.

BUSY OCTOBER: The Cats played their first six games of the season in nine days. Included in the six games were two pairs of back-to-backs with one being a home and home series with Tampa Bay. With tonight's game, Florida will start a stretch of seven games in 10 days. Included in the 10 games are a home and home series with Atlanta, Saturday in Atlanta and Monday at the BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers will also make their first trip to the New York metro area to take on the Rangers, Devils and Islanders consecutively in a span of four days.

MOVIN' ON UP: Panthers captain C Olli Jokinen has a chance to move into the Top 5 or even break a number of Panthers career offensive numbers this season. Jokinen currently ranks third on the Cats goals scored list with 118. He is 34 away from second place (Pavel Bure) and 39 away from first place (Scott Mellanby). Jokinen currently ranks fifth in assists with 147. He is only 18 away from Rob Niedermayer for fourth place and only 50 away from tying Scott Mellanby for second place. Jokinen has 265 points as a Panther, good for fifth best by a Panther. He is one point away from Rob Niedermayer for fourth place and only 89 away from tying Scott Mellanby for most all-time by a Panther player. Jokinen has 38 PPG in a Cats uniform, good for third best by a Panther. He is only six PPG away from tying Pavel Bure for second place. Jokinen's seven SHG are tird most by a Panther, only two away from tying Pavel Bure for second most all-time. Finally, Jokinen will set the Cats all-time record for GWG with his next GWG. Currently, he is tied with Pavel Bure with 23 GWG as a Panther.

Rank Player Points

1 Scott Mellanby 354

2 Viktor Kozlov 291

3 Robert Svehla 290

4 Rob Niedermayer 2665 Olli Jokinen 265

Rank Player Goals

1 Scott Mellanby 157

2 Pavel Bure 1523 Olli Jokinen 118

4 Viktor Kozlov 101

5 Rob Niedermayer 101

Rank Player Assists

1 Robert Svehla 229

2 Scott Mellanby 197

3 Viktor Kozlov 190

4 Rob Niedermayer 1655 Olli Jokinen 147

Rank Player Game-Winning Goals

1 Pavel Bure 232 Olli Jokinen 23

2 Scott Mellanby 22

3 Rob Niedermayer 19

Rank Player Power-Play Goals

1 Scott Mellanby 66

2 Pavel Bure 443 Olli Jokinen 38

LOTS OF GOALS: C Joe Nieuwendyk had a grand opening to the 2006-07 season. Nieuwendyk scored two goals and had an assist Oct. 6 against Boston. His two goals give him 561 for his career passing Guy LaFleur for 19th on the NHL's all-time list. The 40-year old veteran has the fourth most goals of any active player.

Rank Active Player Goals

1 Brendan Shanahan 605

2 Jaromir Jagr 593

3 Joe Sakic 5764 Joe Nieuwendyk 561

LEADER OF THE PACK: Last season C Olli Jokinen paced the Panthers with 89 points (38-51-89). The 89 points in a season ranked only behind Pavel Bure who recorded 92 points (2000-01) and 94 points (1999-00) for total point scoring in one season among franchise leaders. Jokinen started the 2006-07 season where he left off last year, scoring a goal and assist Opening Night against the Bruins. Aginst Carolina on Oct. 11 Jokinen tied his career-high with four points in a game. He had two goals and two assists, and Friday night Jokinen record two more assists. He now has eight points (3-5-8) in the Cats first five games this season.

PRESEASON LEADERS: Five Panthers had four points in the preseason to lead the team; RW Juraj Kolnik (2-2-4), C Nathan Horton (2-2-4), C Olli Jokinen (1-3-4), C Chris Gratton (0-4-4) and Branislav Mezei (0-4-4). In the final game of the preseason, a 6-3 win over Chicago, Kolnik had two goals and Gratton had three assists.

CATS IN HD: FSN Florida has begun its second season of airing Panthers games in high definition. Throught the season, FSN will air 30 HD Panthers games.


The entire Florida Panthers team participated in the first annual Florida Panthers Foundation GameOn! Carnival on September 29th. Players ran carnival booths and helped raise money for charity.

Throughout the summer, several Panthers players participated in 11 Cats Cookouts, meeting with potential season ticket holders and enjoying a free bbq.

D Mike Van Ryn, G Alex Auld, and C Stephen Weiss participated as guest instructors during the Florida Panthers summer hockey camps at incredibleICE in Coral Springs.

C Olli Jokinen took part in the Panthers Ice Dancers tryouts over the summer, acting as a guest judge, and helping to select this year's team.D Steve Montador participated in 93ROCK's 'End of Summer Slam' by introducing the main event band, Nonpoint.

Panthers radio play by play announcer Steve Goldstein sends kids to Panthers games on a regular basis. He founded "Goldie's Gang", a charity helping South Florida kids, in 1999.

Five Florida Panthers players – Captain Olli Jokinen, Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Van Ryn, Ed Belfour and Chris Gratton – have each formed their own charitable programs in which they will donate Panthers tickets to South Florida charities throughout the 2006-07 season. Each of the player's charities – Captain's Corner, Bertuzzi's Buddies, Rhino's Runts, Eagle's Nest and Gratton's Gang – will be marked by hanging banners in the BankAtlantic Center's inner bowl. For more information about any of the player charities or the Panthers Foundation please contact Jean Marshall at (954) 835-7720 or


Olli Jokinen:Recorded his 300th career point Oct. 6 vs. Boston

Joe Nieuwendyk:

Moved into 19th place on the NHL's all-time goals scored list (562) with two goals Oct. 6 vs. Boston


Martin Gelinas needs 2 more points to reach 600 in his career.Jacques Martin needs 3 more wins for his 450th career coaching victoryChris Gratton needs 8 more goals to reach 200 in his career.

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