The Florida Panthers got to enjoy a rare romp on Saturday but things will likely be a lot tighter Sunday when they play the Carolina Hurricanes for the fourth time.
All three of the first three games needed extra time to determine a victor with the Hurricanes taking the last two in Sunrise.
One was won in a shootout, the other — on Monday night — in overtime.
Martin Necas netted the game-winner in both. The Panthers will be keeping an eye on him, for sure.
And if the Panthers weren’t paying attention to old pal Vincent Trocheck, they are now.
Trocheck has not only scored in all three games against his former teammates, but he had scored in three straight games before only getting two assists Thursday against Detroit.
His 12 goals this season has eclipsed what he put up in Florida and Carolina the previous two seasons and is the most he has scored since he torched goalies for 31 in 2017-18.
Florida, which won in its last visit to PNC Arena thanks to a big night from Jonathan Huberdeau, bounced back from its two-game OT/SO sweep by taking both games in Nashville.
This will be Florida’s third game in four days following Saturday’s 6-2 matinee special in Nashville.
The Panthers are expected to have Chris Driedger back in net. We expect the defense to remain the same although there could be some changes within the forward ranks.
Grigori Denisenko made his NHL debut Saturday and Joel Quenneville said “I didn’t mind him” which is sort of a compliment.
He may be back in Sunday or Florida could give Owen Tippett another shot on that third line.
It’s also possible Noel Acciari slides up after he got his third career hat trick Saturday. Back in 2019, not only did Acciari score hat tricks in consecutive games, but he had two in Carolina as he went for No. 3.
Defenseman Keith ‘Ironman’ Yandle will play in his 1,000th game and will be formally honored by the team upon their return from Columbus later this week.
Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes
- When: Sunday, 5 p.m.
- Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
- TV/Radio: FSF/560-AM
- Records: Florida 15-4-4 (T-1st in Central); Carolina 16-6-1 (3rd)
- All-time series: Carolina leads 65-45-6, 11 ties
- Season series: Carolina leads 2-1
- Last season: Carolina won two of three
- Last time out: Carolina 3, Panthers 2 OT
- Up next: Florida at Columbus, Tuesday, 7
- Panthers This Week — Monday: Carolina 3, Panthers 2 OT; Thursday: Florida 5, Nashville 4; Saturday: Florida 6, Nashville 2; Sunday: Florida at Carolina, 5
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINES
77 Frank Vatrano — 16 Sasha Barkov — 23 Carter Verhaeghe
11 Jonathan Huberdeau — 21 Alex Wennberg — 70 Patric Hornqvist
19 Mason Marchment — 27 Eetu Luostarinen — 14 Grigori Denisenko
94 Ryan Lomberg — 83 Juho Lammikko — 55 Noel Acciari
52 MacKenzie Weegar — 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gustav Forsling — 7 Radko Gudas
3 Keith Yandle — 44 Kevin Connauton
60 Chris Driedger
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratches: F Vinnie Hinostroza, F Owen Tippett
Injured: D Markus Nutivaara (upper body), F Anthony Duclair (lower body), D Noah Juulsen (not specified), D Anton Stralman (lower body)
Taxi squad: D Riley Stillman, F Brett Connolly, G Philippe Desrosiers
Florida power play (18/68 26.5% — 6th in NHL)
Florida penalty kill (50/65 76.9% — 20th in NHL)
PP1: Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Patric Hornqvist, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle
PP2: Alex Wennberg, Frank Vatrano, Mason Marchment, Carter Verhaeghe, Gustav Forsling
PROJECTED CAROLINA HURRICANES LINES
37 Andrei Svechnikov — 20 Sebastian Aho — 86 Teuvo Teravainen
21 Nino Niederreiter — 16 Vincent Trocheck — 88 Martin Necas
23 Brock McGinn — 11 Jordan Staal — 71 Jesper Fast
48 Jordan Martinook — 18 Cedric Paquette — 13 Warren Foegele
74 Jaccob Slavin — 19 Dougie Hamilton
76 Brady Skjei — 24 Jake Bean
4 Hayden Fluery —22 Brett Pesce
39 Alex Nedeljkovic
47 James Reimer
Carolina power play (22/73 30.1% — 4th in NHL)
Carolina penalty kill (64/80 80% — 14th in NHL)
PP1: Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck, Dougie Hamilton, Andrei Svechnikov
PP2: Jesper Fast, Teuvo Teravainen, Nino Niederreiter, Brett Pesce, Martin Necas