Florida Panthers

Panther Preview: Canes vs. Cats

Carolina Hurricanes

18-15-6

VS.

18-18-2

This will be the fifth match up of the season between these two Southeast Division rivals, and the second this week.  As you may recall, the Florida Panthers went into Carolina Monday night following a 3-0 shutout of the New York Rangers the night before.  Monday’s game looked to be pretty well under control until, you blinked and it was 3-3 and headed to overtime.  Bryan Allen’s slapshot from just inside the blue line found it’s way past Carolina Hurricane goaltender for the win, and some salvation.

As we know, losing leads, especially to these damn Hurricanes has been a reoccurring situation.  Thankfully Monday night wasn’t the case.  As for tonight, the Panthers need to have a short memory regarding Wednesday night’s fiasco against the Thrashers.  If you didn’t forget check out On Frozen Pond.

The Panthers have picked up points in five of their past six games and are 3-1-2 in that stretch, playing a much better brand of hockey.  Chris Higgins has seemed to get his stride as he has 10 points in his last 10 games.  Stephen Weiss is on fire with 14 points in his last 13 games.  Wow! I just paid him a compliment.  New Year’s resolution?

This game is a must win for us.  On home ice, against a division rival with a road game in Washington tomorrow.  Honestly I would love 3 out of four points this weekend in order to somehow maintain the pace that we’ve been on.  Nothing is easy in this league and as we approach not only the All-Star break but the trade deadline, teams will be making their push.  We need to make ours and start firing on all cylinders.

That will mean guys like David Booth and Mike Santorelli and Steve Bernier and Michael Frolik are going to have to ramp up their games.  with the back to back games, I’d like to be able to tell you who starts tonight in goal, but it’s hard to say right now as I type this.  Tomas Vokoun was pulled after giving up three goals against the Thrashers and Scott Clemmensen came on in relief.  I addition Evgeny Dadonov is listed as day to day with an ankle.  the Panthers could use his energy this weekend.

Carolina meanwhile lost again Wednesday to the new York Rangers 2-1.  Eric Staal picked up his 19th goal of the season as he leads the Canes in scoring, and Cam Ward made his seventh straight start.  he’s 3-2-2 in that stretch.  Rookie Jeff Skinner is leading all rookies in scoring with 28 points.

The power play for the Panthers must get itself untracked.  Only 12 goals and with a 9.3 success rate, this part of their game is killing them, as well as costing points in the standings.  Both teams will have one thing on their mind tonight.  Getting two points.  It’s important that the Panthers get both in regulation.  I’ll be at this one in my regular seat.  Full report tomorrow from Josh.  He’ll be in the booth tonight!

TSN game day preview.

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Tags: Atlanta Thrashers Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes Chris Higgins Florida Panthers South East Division Stephen Weiss Tomas Vokoun

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