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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Hurricanes

by "Hockey Pat" McGrath / Florida Panthers

THE LOWDOWN is a gameday preview produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. The contents of THE LOWDOWN and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read the LOWDOWN, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.

Florida Panthers Vs. Carolina Hurricanes

The Basics

Panthers Hurricanes
Record 22-28-7 25-21-9
Points 51 59
Place 7th in Atlantic 6th in Metropolitan
Season Series 0-1-0 1-0-0

The Panthers play their last game before the Olympic break tonight on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes. This will be the second of three games between the former Southeast Division rivals so it will be kind of like having a terse lunch with an ex-girlfriend except not really because lunches with your ex don’t involve cursing and fistfights…well most of the time they don’t.

Here’s the Lowdown:

Carolina Players to Watch:

#12 Eric Staal: The Hurricanes’ captain Staal-ed (bad-pun alert) out early this season and was one of the most notable Olympic snubs as he was left off Team Canada’s roster. He eventually righted the ship and through 52 games, the Carolina Staal-wert (okay I’ll stop now) has 44 points (14-30-44) and is on pace to lead the Hurricanes in scoring for the fifth straight season.

#53 Jeff Skinner: In his fourth season at only age 21, Skinner is leading Carolina in goals with 23 and is second on the club in points with 38.

#28 Alexander Semin: Many have wondered why the Russian’s immense talents have not always translated to the score sheet. In his second season with the Canes, Semin has 28 points (13-15-28) in 43 games. Initially left off Team Russia’s Olympic roster, Semin was added to the team after Dynamo Moscow forward Sergei Soin went down with an injury.

Your Florida Panthers “Young Gun” Lead Pipe Lock of the Night

The Pick: My streak (okay it was only one game but whatever) came to an abrupt end last night but that’s alright. I am feeling confident with tonight’s pick, Nick Bjugstad.

Why: This one is simple. Nick Bjugstad wears the #27 sweater which also happens to the number of Panther legend (and my favorite player growing up) Scott Mellanby. Today is February 7th or 2/7… yeah….this cannot miss.

Jersey Lineage:

(No not this Jersey)

Speaking of #27 let’s play a little game of jersey lineage looking back through history at the players to wear the digits:

Scott Mellanby (1993-2001):

Panther stats: 552 GP, 157 G, 197 A, 354 Pts.

Franchise records: 2nd in goals, 4th in assists, 1st in our hearts

Jaroslav Bednar (2002-2004):

Panther stats: 65 GP, 6 G, 14 A, 20 Pts.

Christian Berglund (2004):

Panther stats: 10 GP, 3 G, 1 A, 4 Pts.

Noah Welch (2007-09)

Panther stats: 29 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 Pts.

Michal Repik (2008-12):

Panther stats: 72 GP, 9 G, 11 A, 20 Pts.

Nick Bjugstad (2013-present)

Panther stats: 61 GP, 13 G, 10 A, 23 Pts.

What we learned: Well I guess the post Mellanby history of #27 has not been as decorated as I would have thought. However, that looks like it is changing as Nick Bjugstad has already managed to become the 2nd most productive player to wear the digits and he is only just getting started.

Checking in on the Panthers scoring race:

With just 25 games left on the schedule, the Panthers scoring race is heating up. Currently Brad Boyes and Scottie Upshall pace the team with 26 points each but their lead is slimmer than Nebraska’s Best Picture odds. With seven Panthers five or fewer points off the pace, the fight for the top spot should be a fun one to watch.

Vintage NHL:

With some due respect for the Canes, the Hartford Whalers had the best logo in the NHL.

The day I noticed the H in the white space between the W and the whale tail was almost as monumental as the day I first saw the arrow between the E and the X on the FedEx Logo.

Alexander Semin after he was chosen as an injury replacement for Team Russia:

Eric Staal after finding out he did not make Team Canada:

…And again after Martin St. Louis was picked over him to replace Stamkos

Pre-game Tweet of the Day:

Okay fine, this is from a couple days ago but come on… I mean, how fresh are these jerseys! While twenty days without Panther hockey is going to suck, I won’t lie, I am pretty pumped up for Sochi baby! Anyway, tonight is the last game before the break so let’s enjoy it while we can and go out with a win!

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