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. Dallas Stars
|Panthers ||Stars |
|Record ||27-43-8 ||38-28-11 |
|Points ||62 ||87 |
|Place ||7th in Atlantic ||5th in Central |
In the first game of their season ending five game homestand on Friday night, the Florida Panthers fell 2-1 to the Calgary Flames. The homestand continues this afternoon with the Dallas Stars in town for a 5:00 p.m. puck drop.
Here is the lowdown:
On Military Appreciation Night at BB&T Center, Florida extinguished Calgary’s attack for most of the game. Florida limited the Flames to just 17 shots, but the Cats could not get enough pucks by Calgary goaltender Joey MacDonald who stopped 34 of the 35 shots the Cats sent his way.
Military Tweet Beat
Vinny continues to impress in his short time with the Panthers. Friday’s goal was his fourth of the season and the first powerplay goal of his NHL career.
The Butler Is In
Bobby Butler made his Panthers debut on Friday, playing on the wing alongside Scott Gomez and Sean Bergenheim. Butler’s 45 (21-24-45) points in 64 games place him atop the San Antonio Rampage leaderboard, and the 26-year-old forward brought that scoring prowess to the ice against the Flames. Bobby B recorded 15:16 TOI, two shots and a couple of dandy moves in his first game with the Panthers.
Stars on Ice?
The Stars took a big step towards qualifying for the playoffs with their 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. The win gave Dallas 87 points and it vaulted them over the Phoenix Coyotes and into the second Western Conference wild card spot. The Coyotes trail Dallas by just a point but the Stars have a game in hand over Phoenix. With the win last night, Dallas now has an 86.1% chance of making the playoffs while the Coyotes playoff chances dropped to 14.2%.
I don’t really know what this means but I guess it’s working…
This does mean that tonight’s game will be crucial for the Stars and it means that the Panthers have an excellent opportunity to handout a demoralizing setback to Dallas’ playoff campaign.
A large part of Dallas’ success this season has been the play of brothers Jordie and Jamie Benn. Jordie (26) has accumulated 20 points (3-17-20) from the blueline while team captain Jamie (24) has piled up 74 points (32-42-74).
The Benns have been rockin’ the suburbs of Dallas all season long and the strong play has them ascending the ‘best teammate tandem of brothers’ standings that I just made up two minutes ago. While it might be a battle of who could care less, you could make a case that the Benns should actually top the list.
The Sedin twins, usually the de facto top dogs, are both having down years by their standards and their Canucks look like they will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Carolina’s Eric (19-39-58) and Jordan Staal (15-24-39) have put up okay, if not slightly disappointing, numbers, but the Canes also look like they will be hitting the links sooner than they would have hoped this season.
Like the Stars, the (probably) playoff bound Philadelphia Flyers have a brotherly forward/defenseman combo in Brayden (18-21-39) and Luke Schenn (4-7-11), but just one glace at the numbers will tell you that the Benns have been more instrumental to their team’s success than the Schenns.
Pick a Panther
(Selecting a Panthers player to score in tonight’s game)
Current streak: 0
A fun way to add some excitement to your Panthers viewing experience is by picking one of the Panthers’ goal scorers for every game. I will be picking players for the remainder of the season and if you want to play along, tweet your picks to @FlaPanthers, #PickaPanther. If you pick right, you might get a retweet (commitment is not really my thing)…
Pat’s Pick: Nick Bjugstad
The Panthers rookie center is currently in a three way tie, with Scottie Upshall and Brian Campbell, for the team scoring lead. I suspect the chance at the team scoring title might give Bjugstad some added motivation and the result of that motivation will be a big game from the big 21-year-old.
Enjoy the game.