First of all, congratulations are in order for multiple achievements. Jaromir Jagr gave us one of the highlights of the 2015-16 NHL season with his two-goal game on Saturday, as the Panthers topped Winnipeg 3-1 and Jagr tied and passed Brett Hull to move into third place on the all-time goal scoring chart. Jussi Jokinen assisted twice in his 800th national hockey league game, and he continues to post great numbers for the campaign. Roberto Luongo was brilliant in picking up his 25th win of the season in net. It was a signature game in a special season for the Panthers, and to be able to call a game like that is an absolute honor. We’re witnessing history, folks.
IMPORTANT HOCKEY THINGS:
-The Sunday-through-Wednesday lull for the Panthers is the longest stretch without a game for the Panthers the rest of the way. Beginning with tomorrow’s game against Arizona, the Panthers never have more than two consecutive off nights between games. It’s a ton of hockey in a short period of time; 23 games in 45 days to finish the season between Thursday and April 9th. The Panthers do only have three back-to-backs remaining in the schedule. Basically, it comes down to a hockey game every other day from now through the playoffs, when teams generally only get more than a couple consecutive nights off if they dispose of an opponent quickly.
-Saturday night’s game against Winnipeg left just one team on the list of opponents the Panthers haven’t faced this season: the Coyotes, who will be at the BB&T Center tomorrow. The Coyotes were in Tampa last night and fell by a 2-1 score, and they’ll be coming into the BB&T Center tomorrow winless over their last three games.
-This season’s edition of the Panthers need nine wins to tie the franchise record of 43 victories set by the 1999-00 club. The ’99-00 team finished second in the Southeast Division, was sixth in the league with 244 goals scored, and was swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils. That team had eight players score double-digit goals; this season’s Panthers already have nine players with at least 10 goals through 59 games.
-Congratulations to Mike Matheson and Kyle Rau on their NHL debuts Saturday against Winnipeg. The Panthers have had six players make their NHL debuts this season in all: Matheson, Rau, John McFarland, Brent Regner, Logan Shaw, and Connor Brickley. Rau became the first player in Panthers history to wear #92 according to the folks over at hockey-reference.com, while Matheson became the second #56 in team history. Ivan Majesky wore #56 and played all 82 games for the 2002-03 Panthers. If you’re wondering, also according to the folks over at hockey-reference.com, there are 20 numbers between one and 99 that no Panther has ever worn, and they are all between 59 and 99, with 14 of them being in the 80’s or 90’s.
-The Panthers are 26-9-3 since (American) Thanksgiving, when they were 8-9-4. They’re 28-4-5 when scoring first.
SUPER COOL THINGS FROM OFF THE ICE
-How awesome was it that Kevin Spacey and the “Spacey In Space” sweatshirt were on The Today Show today? If you’d like a sweatshirt, they’re available for purchase at Panthers games and at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, and the money goes to charity.
-I’m all set for Iron Maiden this evening at the BB&T Center; never seen ‘em before, and looking forward to it. I’ll have a recap in the next edition of this bi-weekly online literary publication.
-It sounds like Beartooth finished recording their new album. I’ll be excited to hear that one. If you haven’t heard Beartooth before, perhaps you should change that.
-Tweet the broadcast @DougPlagens during games and your tweet could end up being read on the air! Also, you can tweet me and @AlexDonno during the weekly Panthers Insider Show (Saturdays, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on 560 WQAM) and your tweet could be read during the show!