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Point Streak on the Line as Panthers Kick Off Trip in Calgary

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

10/24/19 Morning Skate

10/24/19 Morning Skate

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Colton Sceviour and defenseman Riley Stillman.

  • 02:00 •

CALGARY - The Florida Panthers will look to extend their point streak to seven games when they open a four-game road trip through the Western Conference against the Calgary Flames on Thursday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Going 3-0-3 over their last six games, the Panthers have been producing steadily on offense as of late, ranking sixth in the league in goals scored (20) since their point streak began on Oct. 11.

"I still think there's room for growth in our overall game, but I think we're trending in the right direction," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said of his team's play during the streak. "That's basically measuring how we play by what we give up. I think we've been getting way better."

The Panthers (4-2-3) are coming off a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday in Sunrise. Against the Penguins, Denis Malgin notched a goal and an assist to push his own point streak to three games, while Jonathan Huberdeau registered an assist and also scored the game-winning goal.

"I thought we played a full 60 minutes," Huberdeau said of the win. "We struggled a bit in the second period, but I thought we played an overall good game against a really good team at home."

Florida's scoring leader with 10 points (four goals, six assists), Huberdeau has notched at least one point in seven of nine games to start the season, including three multi-point performances.

"Lately, we've been playing at a better pace," Huberdeau said. "We've just got to keep doing that on this road trip here."

Riley Stillman, who was recalled from the AHL earlier in the day, will slot into Florida's lineup in place of injured defenseman Mike Matheson. A fourth-round pick (116th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old made his NHL debut with the Panthers last season, playing in one game.

Quenneville said Matheson is expected to be out of action for the next 10-14 days.

"It's tough with Matty going down, but I'm happy to be here, happy to come in and hopefully help the team win," said Stillman, who had one assist in five games with AHL Springfield prior to his call-up. "The guys are helping me here, understanding the new systems and stuff like that."

In his season debut, Stillman will be paired with veteran defenseman Anton Stralman.

"He's very experienced and played a lot of games," Stillman said. "He's a smart hockey player. I'm lucky to come in and play with him tonight and learn from him all throughout the game."

Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 23 of 25 shots against Pittsburgh, is expected to be in between the pipes again in Calgary. The 31-year-old goaltender has helped the Panthers earn a point in each of his last four starts (2-0-2), giving up just two goals in two separate contests in that span.

In his career against Calgary, Bobrovsky owns a 7-4-2 record with a .914 save percentage and one shutout.

"Their top-two lines are extremely dangerous offensively," Quenneville said of the Flames. "They've got tons of patience with the puck… They've got really good play recognition around the net. They incorporate their defense in zone play. They're dangerous off the rush. They're probably as good as any team in the league when the puck is on their stick."

The Flames (5-5-1) enter tonight's matchup having lost two of their last three games, including 5-3 loss against Washington on Tuesday. Austin Czarnik, Tobias Rieder and Elias Lindholm all scored for Calgary against the Capitals, with Lindholm raising his team-leading goal total to six.

Johnny Gaudreau leads the Flames in scoring with nine points (three goals, six assists).

In net, Calgary is expected to turn to David Rittich, who's gone 4-3-1 with a 2.85 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and one shutout this season. The 27-year-old goaltender has won two of his last three starts but was on the wrong end of a 4-1 loss in Los Angeles his last time out.

In his career against Florida, Rittich owns a 2-1-0 record despite posting a .894 save percentage.

"They're a really skilled hockey team," Panthers forward Colton Sceviour said of the Flames. "They can score if you give them opportunities, like anyone in this league. They've got a really good transition game with some mobile defensemen that like to get up into the rush."

Florida has earned at least one point in four of five road games this season, going 2-1-2.

"It's our first long road trip," said Sceviour, who's tallied three assists this season. "We had a three-gamer, and now four games here. It's important to continue some of our momentum that we built on our last trip on the road, and it starts with the first game here in Calgary."

NOTES

-- Aaron Ekblad leads the Panthers and ranks fifth in the league in average ice time per game (25:20). The 23-year-old lead also leads Florida's defenseman in assists (5). The first-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, he will be competing in the 400th game of his NHL career tonight.

-- Mike Hoffman leads the Panthers in goals (5) and is tied for second in points (8). The 29-year-old winger posted the best season of his career in 2018-19, reaching new highs in goals (36), power-play goals (17) and points (70).

-- Aleksander Barkov leads the Panthers with eight assists. The 23-year-old also leads the team in faceoff win percentage (53.4). In 2018-19, he achieved a new franchise single-season scoring record with 96 points, including a career-high 35 goals.

-- Noel Acciari has tallied three goals in nine games. He also ranks tied for first on the Panthers in blocked shots (14), while ranking second in hits (20).

-- MacKenzie Weegar has posted five points (two goals, three assists) in nine games. In the midst of his third full season with the Panthers, he notched 15 points in 64 games in 2018-19.

-- The Panthers own the sixth-ranked penalty kill in the league at 87.0 percent. Over their last six games, they've successful killed off 15 of the 16 opposing power plays that they've faced.

-- Florida ranks third in the league in shots per game (36.1).

PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman - Brian Boyle - Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano - Denis Malgin - Mark Pysyk

Dryden Hunt - Noel Acciari - Colton Sceviour

Defensemen

MacKenzie Weegar - Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman - Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle - Josh Brown

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratches: Vincent Trocheck (lower-body), Mike Matheson (undisclosed), Jayce Hawryluk

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

- Oct. 24: D Riley Stillman was recalled from AHL Springfield.

- Oct. 22: F Aleksi Saarela was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for D Ian McCoshen.

- Oct. 20: F Brian Boyle signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Panthers.

- Oct. 20: F Henrik Borgstrom was loaned to AHL Springfield.

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN

When: Thursday, Oct. 24, 9:00 p.m. ET

Where: Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

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)

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