Welcome back to another exciting edition of this!
The Florida Panthers are continuing to roll heading into a six-game homestand that begins Friday against St. Louis at 7:30 PM. Tuesday’s 7-4 win in Buffalo gave the Panthers a split of their two-game road trip, and elevated the Panthers record since Thanksgiving to 24-7-2. Through 54 games, the Panthers have 32 wins; 11 shy of the single-season team record of 43 wins from 1999-00 with 28 games to play.
-Roberto Luongo has notched three wins against two different teams this season. The Panthers 7-4 win last time out made Luongo 3-1-0 against the Sabres this season, giving him a 9-1-0 record over his last 10 games against Buffalo and a 14-2-2 over his last 18 games overall. Luongo is also 3-1-0 against Tampa Bay this season with a 1.97 goals against average and a .942 save percentage; a huge reason why the Panthers have the upper hand on the Lightning in the Atlantic Division race.
-The Washington Capitals own the NHL’s best record, but in three games against the Caps this season, the Panthers took five of six possible points. Al Montoya played all three games in net for the Panthers against Washington this season, going 2-0-1 with a 1.63 goals against average and a .942 save percentage.
-Aaron Ekblad is tied for the Panthers team lead at +20 with Brian Campbell. Ekblad is currently second on the Panthers all-time plus/minus chart, just behind Martin Gelinas’ +34 rating. Ekblad has played just 131 games for the Panthers, while Gelinas suited up in 164 regular season contests for the team from 2005-07. Campbell is also climbing the team’s all-time charts; with four assists over his last six games, Campbell is into the top-10 on the Panthers assist list with 139. He’s 11 behind ninth-place Jay Bouwmeester.
-What a stat line for Alex Petrovic on Tuesday night in Buffalo: a goal, an assist, +4, three fights (Against the same player), and 29 total penalty minutes. The game marked his first career multi-point game, his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick, and according to the folks over at SportsNet Stats (@SNStats on Twitter), Tuesday night marked the first time two players fought each other three times in a game since January 10th, 2002 when Bob Probert and Jody Shelley threw down three times. According to Hockeyfights.com, Bret Gallant and Krys Barch fought three times in a 2013 preseason game, and in an instance in 2003, Kip Brennan and Jim Cummins fought three times, but Brennan was not dealt a fighting major on the third alternation. Petrovic’s 29 total penalty minutes fell eight short of Joey Tetarenko’s 37 penalty minutes on 1/19/02; the Panthers single-game team record. The Panthers record for the most penalty minutes in a game by a defenseman: Paul Laus, 30 minutes, 1/19/94 and 3/16/95 against Washington.
-There are three Panthers whose first names start with the letter ‘J’, and they just so happen to be in a three-way tie for the Panthers lead in points. Jaromir Jagr, Jussi Jokinen, and Jonathan Huberdeau each have 38 points on the season.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS
-Friday’s matchup against the Blues is the second and final game this season between the two teams. The Panthers won 3-1 in St. Louis on December 1st; the same day that I had my second-ever calzone at this place called Sauce on the Side in Downtown St. Louis. If you have any plans to cross the Mississippi, your first stop on the other side should be for one of their calzones.
-Same thing goes for Saturday’s game against Nashville, except it was December 3rd when the Panthers and Preds last met, and the final score was 2-1. And instead of a calzone, I had BBQ in Nashville that day, and the night before as a matter of fact. Jack’s gets the nod over that other place across the street.
-A new album from Killswitch Engage, “Incarnate”, comes out on March 11th. A couple tracks have been released, and it sounds fantastic. And their drummer, Justin, is a big Panthers fan. Give it a listen.
-The upcoming six-game homestand is one of two six-game stints at home for the Panthers this season.
-We’re really enjoying the Tweets from all of you during games. Keep them coming, and you may get a shout-out during an upcoming second intermission or during a future edition of the Saturday morning Panthers Insider Show (Saturdays from 9:00-10:00 AM, 560 WQAM). Tweet me @DougPlagens, Billy Lindsay @LindsayBHockey, and Alex Donno @AlexDonno.
‘Til next time, that’ll do it from here.