On Friday night, the Florida Panthers will be in Minnesota to take on the Wild, the first of a season long five game road trip. The trip includes a back-to-back in Minnesota and Colorado, a stop in Vancouver and a back-to-back in Edmonton and Calgary. The following is a brief look at each of the games:
Friday November 15th: Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild, 8:00 p.m. ET
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Prior to the Panthers 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, the Panthers last win had come against the Minnesota Wild. The 2-1 shootout victory came on October 19th at the BB&T Center. Following the loss to the Panthers, the Wild had a middling 3-3-3 record. Their nine points through nine games were good enough for only 5th place in the Central Division.
Something clicked for the Wild after they fell to the Panthers and in their subsequent ten games, the Wild have rattled off a record of 8-1-1. A big part of the Wild’s recent dominance has been the stellar play of goaltender Josh Harding. The Wild have gone 7-0-1 in the eight games he has started since the shootout loss to the Panthers. Harding has two shutouts in that eight game span and has only allowed ten goals giving him a ridiculous .947 save percentage.
The play of Harding combined with the Wild’s stingy defense means the offensively challenged Panthers will have to fight tooth and nail for every goal. Florida only scored one goal when these teams met back in October and it was enough for a win. For a repeat performance the Panthers are going to need to put a few more away or they are going to need Tim Thomas to stand on his head.