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[Plagens' Points] New Year's Eve Edition

by Doug Plagens / Florida Panthers

Good day folks. It’s been a couple weeks, and what a couple weeks it’s been!

You’re all well-aware of the Panthers current franchise record-tying seven-game win streak. The string of wins began on Tuesday, December 15th in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders, and the Panthers will attempt to set a franchise record if they can win an eighth consecutive game Saturday against the New York Rangers at the BB&T Center. The game starts at 7:00 PM; be there.

Saturday’s game is a rematch of sorts; the Rangers handed the Panthers a 5-4 overtime loss on November 21st in Sunrise. The Panthers had to score twice in the final minutes against Henrik Lundqvist to force overtime on November 21st, and despite falling the extra frame, November 21st appears to have been a turning point for the Panthers. Since that first meeting with the Rangers this season, the Panthers are 13-4-0; a stretch that includes an 11-3-0 December, which marks the Panthers highest win and point totals for a single month in team history.

5 IMPORTANT HOCKEY NOTES:

  • During the current seven-game win streak, Roberto Luongo has an individual six-game win streak; tying a record (Luongo 2005-06) for consecutive goaltending wins. Luongo stopped 27 of 28 shots in Tuesday’s home win over Montreal, and has a save percentage of .941 over his last six starts (144 saves on 153 shots against).
  • Aaron Ekblad has raised his team-leading plus/minus to +12 on the season. As of December 30th, Ekblad’s nine goals place him in a tie for fourth among NHL defensemen, but Ekblad has the best plus/minus of any of the NHL’s top-13 goal-scoring defensemen.
  • Brian Campbell has been a ‘plus’ in seven straight games, and after a +1 on Tuesday, he is +9 over his last seven contests; each of those seven games were Panthers wins. Furthermore, Campbell led the Panthers in ice time on Tuesday, playing 23:32 in the 3-1 win over Montreal.
  • How about that line of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Jaromir Jagr? The trio combined for 11 goals, 22 assists, and 33 points in the Month. A couple other notes: Barkov has eight points in seven Tuesday games this season, and Jagr is at a point-per-game clip on Thursdays with eight points in eight games on the day often referred to as the new Friday.
  • As a team, the Panthers have moved into fifth in five-on-five goals for/goals against ratio this season (1.20).

THREE OR FOUR SOMEWHAT RELEVANT OTHER THINGS:

  • One of my co-workers in the Panthers communications department, Mike Lewis, owns a very versatile zip-up Panthers pullover that is cool enough to not make you uncomfortable on a hot day, but it’s warm enough that it gives you an extra layer when you’re heading into a cold ice rink. It goes great with business casual attire, too. I started calling it the “Mike Lewis Special”, and picked up one for myself. I greatly enjoy it, and there are still a couple left at Pantherland, I think.
  • Keep your Tweets coming; you may hear them read in a future broadcast, or you may see your Tweet referenced here, in a future edition of this. Again, my Twitter handle is @DougPlagens. Also, check your local listings for the weekly “Panthers Insider Show”, hosted by me and WQAM’s Alex Donno. We always have great guests stopping by. Hear it every Saturday morning at 9:00 AM-10:00 AM.
  • When the Panthers were in Boston recently, they played a Volbeat song at the start of warmups. I’m not sure if this is a regular occurrence, but you can never have too much Volbeat.

That’ll do it from here. Happy New Year! ‘Til next time, folks.

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