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Panthers Host Rangers in Rematch on Hockey Fights Cancer Night

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

11/16/19 Morning Skate

11/16/19 Morning Skate

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forwards Aleksander Barkov and Brian Boyle and defenseman Mark Pysyk.

  • 01:35 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - Less than a week after pulling out a thrilling shootout win in New York, the Florida Panthers will look for more of the same when they host the Rangers in a rematch at BB&T Center on Saturday night.

In their previous meeting, the Panthers erased three one-goal deficits to come from behind and secure a 6-5 shootout win at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 10. Overall, Florida has won two of its last three contests, but is coming off a tough 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

That game against the Jets kicked off a stretch of 14 of 16 games on home ice for the Panthers, who sit at 9-5-5 on the season and current occupy third place in a jam-packed Atlantic Division.

"We've got some home games here. Let's take advantage of it and play the right way," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "We know it's going to be a fun building tonight. We're coming off an exciting game in New York. A lot of things happened that game. Let's play the right way and have a defensive mindset. We're giving up too many goals. That's what we're after tonight."

As they look to tighten up on defense, the Panthers certainly aren't struggling on offense.

Florida has scored at least three goals in six out of its last seven games and currently owns the sixth-ranked offense in the league (3.53 goals per game). A driving force behind that scoring surge has been the club's power play, which has lit the lamp in each of the last eight contests.

During that streak, they've gone 9-for-27 with the extra attacker, with their 33 percent success rate ranking second in the league in that span. Keith Yandle, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are tied for the team-lead with nine power-play points apiece in those eight games.

"Moving the puck and knowing what we need to do," Barkov said of the power play, which currently ranks fifth in the league at 25 percent. "We just put a lot of pucks to the net. We have a lot of great shooters and move the puck really well. We just need to keep doing that and out-battle the penalty kill."

Florida's scoring leader with 25 points (six goals, 19 assists), Barkov enters tonight's matchup on a seven-game point streak in which he's registered six goals and six assists. Huberdeau sits right behind him on the team's scoring list with 24 points, including a team-leading nine goals.

The Rangers (8-7-2) have won three of their last five games, but are coming off a lopsided 9-3 loss in Tampa Bay on Thursday. In that game, five of the Lightning's goals came on the power play, which knocked New York's penalty kill all the way down to 26th in the league (74.6 percent).

Artemi Panarin leads the Rangers in both goal (8) and points (21). On a 10-game point streak, the 28-year-old winger has tallied four goals and 11 assists in that span. Ryan Strome ranks second on the team in scoring with 16 points, while Pavel Buchnevich sits behind him with 15.

Looking at tonight's goaltending battle, Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start in net for the Panthers, while Henrik Lundqvist will most likely be between the pipes for the Rangers.

"I think they're coming in here a little pissed off from their last game," Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk said. "You saw during the game when we were in New York that they're a highly-skilled team a lot of speed. We've got to match that and try to play a solid defensive game. The guys up front will take care of the offense."

If you're at tonight's game, you'll also notice a lot of purple on the ice and in the stands.

In partnership with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Panthers will host their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night this evening. Now in its 21st season, each of the league's 31 teams observes Hockey Fights Cancer Month in support of cancer patients and their families.

Fans attending this game are encouraged to fill out cards to support those battling the disease. These cards will be located at the Foundation table outside of Club Lexus and in seats. The first 10,000 fans will also receive a rally towel courtesy of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Panthers players will wear special Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys during warm-ups, with select jerseys being available for auction/raffle outside of Club Lexus afterwards. Additionally, for those that can't make it to the game, some of those jerseys are available at Auctions.NHL.com. Hockey Fights Cancer Pins will also be available for $10 in Pantherland and outside of Club Lexus.

All proceeds from these sales will benefit the Florida Panthers Foundation.

"The awareness that it brings is great," Quenneville said. "I think everybody's been touched throughout their lives with cancer in some way. It's important to bring awareness. The support that's out there in the hockey community is outstanding. It'll be great. We've been in a couple buildings already where they've done it. It's nice to be a part of it tonight."

The night has an even greater meaning for Panthers winger Brian Boyle.

Diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in September of 2017, the 34-year-old played through the 2017-18 season with the New Jersey Devils while undergoing treatment. In honor of his courage, he was awarded the 2018 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given out annually to the play who showcases the most "perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Around this time last season, just a few weeks after finding out he was in remission, Boyle made headlines when he scored the first and only hat trick of his career to lead the Devils to a 5-1 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins during the team's Hockey Fights Cancer Night back on Nov. 5, 2018.

When asked about that special night, he said "there was something a little bigger going on."

"The amount of good it's done is an awesome thing," Boyle said of Hockey Fights Cancer. "We want to keep progressing, raising awareness and funds. I've said it many times, I'm a beneficiary of that research and that money... It's really a special night because of all the good it can do."

NOTES

-- Keith Yandle enters tonight's matchup riding a four-game point streak, including five points (one goal, four assists) over his last two games alone. The 33-year-old veteran paces Florida's defensemen in points (15), including nine on the power play, which is tied for the team-lead.

-- Mike Hoffman enters tonight's matchup on a three-game point streak, posting one goal and three assists in that span. The 29-year-old winger has notched 14 points this season (seven goals, seven assists). He also leads 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 13 games. The 23-year-old defenseman has notched 10 points (two goals, eight assists) while also leading the Panthers in average ice time per game (24:12) this season.

-- Vincent Trocheck is coming off a two-goal performance in Thursday's loss to Winnipeg. In 12 games this season, the 26-year-old center has notched three goals and five assists, while also leading the team with three shootout goals.

-- Jonathan Huberdeau needs one more assist to surpass Stephen Weiss for the most assists in Panthers history (250).

-- Dryden Hunt leads the Panthers in hits (34); Anton Stralman has the most blocks (29).

-- Evgenii Dadonov ranks second in goals (8) and third in points (16) on Florida.

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

-- The Panthers rank second in the league with 29 goals in the third period.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii

Dadonov Brian Boyle - Vincent Trocheck - Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano - Denis Malgin - Mike Hoffman

Dryden Hunt - Noel Acciari - Colton Sceviour

Defensemen

Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson - Anton Stralman

Mark Pysyk - Josh Brown

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

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

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

- 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.

IN-ARENA ACTIVATIONS

- 50/50 Raffle (guaranteed $25,000 pot) 

- Hockey Fights Cancer Night

- Online Hockey Fights Cancer Jersey Auction 

- First 10,000 fans in the building will receive a towel giveaway courtesy of Sylvester Cancer.

- Territory Takeover (Miami)

BITE OF BB&T CENTER

- Meatball Sub for $8 at Select Concession Stands

GUEST CHEF

Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar

For more information on the Guest Chef Program, click HERE

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN

When: Saturday, Nov. 16, 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: BB&T Center - Sunrise, FL

TV: FSF

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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