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Panthers Look to Defend Home Ice Against Streaking Hurricanes

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

10/8/19 Morning Skate

10/8/19 Morning Skate

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forwards Vincent Trocheck and Henrik Borgstrom and defenseman Mark Pysyk

  • 02:05 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers are expecting a lot of fast-paced action when they close out a two-game homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes at BB&T Center on Tuesday night.

"They've got a lot of energy in their game," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said after today's morning skate. "There's not a lot of time and space out there, so things are going to happen quickly tonight. We've got to respond the right way and build on the home momentum that we started with… We want to make sure that every single night we're ready to go here at home."

The Panthers (1-1-0) picked up their first win of the season in a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay in Saturday's home opener. Mike Hoffman scored three goals - including a pair on the power play just 1:26 apart - to tally his second-career hat trick and push his team-leading goal total to four.

"It's always good to get the first one," Quenneville said. "We know that divisionally it's going to be a challenge. Everyone has gotten off to great starts themselves. Every single night we feel that we have to take care of business no matter where we are, but especially at home."

Off to another hot start, Hoffman posted a career-best 36 goals and 70 points last season.

"With the puck, he does a lot of good things," Quenneville said. "It's not just his shot or shot selection. He does have patience with it. He's got a really good set of hands and good play recognition as well. I think he's had a good start to his career. I think this is an important year."

After sitting out each of the first two games of the season, defenseman Mark Pysyk is expected to return to the lineup tonight in place of Josh Brown. The 26-year-old posted one goal and 10 assists in 70 games in 2018-19. During this morning's rushes, he was paired with Keith Yandle.

"It's good to get back out their today and into the routine," Pysyk said.

From a defensive perspective, Pysyk also expects things to move quickly tonight.

"With Carolina coming in, it'll be a little bit faster," he said. "They come in, and they come hard… They play fast. Everybody works hard throughout their whole lineup. I remember just from last year that they kind of come in waves at you. It never sort of lets up. We've got to do a good job."

The Hurricanes (3-0-0) are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Erasing an early 3-1 deficit to force overtime, defenseman Jaccob Slavin scored 1:53 into the extra frame to help Carolina improve to a perfect 3-0-0 for just the second time in franchise history.

Dougie Hamilton, who had a goal and an assist to earn first-star honors against the Lightning, is tied with Andrei Svechnikov for Hurricanes scoring lead with four points. Erik Haula, meanwhile, paces the club with three goals, and Teuvo Teravainen has chipped in three points - all assists.

"We're playing up against a good team," Panthers center Vincent Trocheck said. "They've won three in a row so far, a hot start. They've got a lot of confidence. They're going to come in with a lot of speed. We've got to weather the storm a little bit early and make sure we play our game."

Trocheck said a big part of tonight's game will be overcoming Carolina's deep defensive core.

"They pressure everywhere," he said. "You've got to make sure you get the puck behind them, play in the O-zone and not make too many mistakes at the blue line."

Traded from the Panthers to the Hurricanes on June 30, James Reimer is expected to start in net for Carolina. Joining the team as a free agent in 2016, the 31-year-old went 53-42-16 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .912 save percentage during his three seasons with Florida.

In his lone start this season, Reimer made 32 saves in a 3-2 overtime win in Washington on Oct. 5.

"It's fun," Reimer said. "You obviously know a lot of the guys over there, and also they know you. Just go out there and have some fun. We've been playing well, so hopefully we can keep doing it."

Sergei Bobrovsky, whose 32 saves in Saturday's win over the Lightning include more than a handful of highlight-reel stops, is expected to make his third straight start for the Panthers.

"Every single game's going to be important for us," Quenneville said. "Whatever the situation is, let's make sure we're committed to doing the right things shift in and shift out, pushing each other."

NOTES

-- Aaron Ekblad leads Florida's defensemen with two assists this season. In 2018-19, the 23-year-old tallied 13 goals, 24 assists, 88 blocked shots and a career-best 114 hits while seeing a team-high 1,938:49 of ice time. He has at least 10 goals in each of his first five NHL seasons.

-- Jonathan Huberdeau registered two assists in Saturday's win over Tampa Bay. The 26-year-old winger is coming off the best season of his career, setting new career-high in points (92). Of those points, a franchise-record 62 came in the form of assists. His 30 goals were a career-best.

-- Noel Acciari scored his first goal of the season on Saturday night and currently leads the Panthers with six hits. Joining the team on a three-year deal on July 1, the 27-year-old racked up 221 hits during his final season with Boston in 2018-19, which ranked him 12th in the NHL.

-- Mike Matheson leads the Panthers with six blocked shots this season. In 2018-19, the 25-year-old posted eight goals, 19 assists and a team-leading 132 blocked shots - 29 more than the next-highest player on the team - while seeing the ice for a career-high 22:19 per contest.

-- Vincent Trocheck is tied for second on the Panthers in scoring with two points. He tallied his first goal of the season in last week's season opener in Tampa Bay, lighting the lamp with the third shorthanded goal of his career. He is also winning 50 percent of his faceoffs thus far.

-- The Panthers ranked second on the power play (26.8 percent) and 10th on the penalty kill (81.3 percent) in 2018-19. On the man advantage, four different players reached the 30-point plateau, including a franchise-record 39 power-play points from defenseman Keith Yandle.

-- Keith Yandle is expected to suit up in his 800th consecutive NHL game tonight.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman - Vincent Trocheck - Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano - Henrik Borgstrom - Jayce Hawryluk

Dryden Hunt - Noel Acciari - Colton Sceviour

Defensemen

Mike Matheson - Aaron Ekblad

MacKenzie Weegar - Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle - Mark Pysyk

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratches: Josh Brown, Denis Malgin

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

- Sept. 29: F Anthony Greco, F Owen Tippett, F Dominic Toninato and D Riley Stillman were loaned to AHL Springfield.

- Sept. 28: F Anthony Greco was recalled from AHL Springfield.

- Sept. 26: F Anthony Greco, D Ian McCoshen and G Chris Driedger were loaned to AHL Springfield.

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN

When: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: BB&T Center - Sunrise, FL

TV: FSF

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

Stream: HERE

Tickets: HERE

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