"The Champs are coming, the Champs are coming..."
Game 3 of the Panthers' season-long 6-game home stand has the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in town. Both teams come off wins Saturday night, the Panthers beat Minnesota 2-1 in a shootout while the Blackawks earned a 3-1 victory over Toronto. Tonight will be a different challenge as the Hawks present a big, literally, challenge. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews get all the pub, and it's well deserved, but Chicago boasts a number of big, strong forwards that the Panthers must physically match up with.
The Hawks defense is solid, led by Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. The Panthers will need to have everyone going tonight to get a win. Tim Thomas has been super the last two games since returning from injury and said he's getting better as he goes along.
That bodes well as does the timely goal scoring of rookie Aleksander Barkov and 20-year old second year forward Jonathan Huberdeau. These two have been fun to watch and have produced. Panthers' fans are watching stars in the making right before their eyes. A win tonight would be a huge shot in the arm for the Cats. With Buffalo and Tampa Bay in town this weekend it could shape up to be a solid home stand. A big effort is needed tonight though.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the BB&T Center, and we are on the air at 7 p.m. with the pre-game show.