If there has ever been a trap game in October for an NHL team, Monday certainly looks like a prime candidate as the winless Arizona Coyotes visit the unbeaten Florida Panthers in Sunrise.
The Panthers are, as expected, heavy favorites to move on to 6-0.
Arizona, after all, is not only winless through its first five games but the Coyotes are coming off a winless homestand in which it was outscored 15-5.
The Coyotes flew east after being shutout in Glendale 3-0 by the Islanders on Saturday night and have been outscored by 16 goals this season.
Florida, meanwhile, has gone 5-0 against teams which were either in the playoffs last season or are contenders for a postseason spot (Philadelphia) in this one.
The Panthers have outscored those opponents by 13 goals.
Monday night is the first real break the Panthers have had — and it comes before a pair of games against Boston sandwiched around a trip to Detroit to face an improved Red Wings team which gave Florida trouble last season.
Joel Quenneville isn’t looking at Monday night’s game as a breather (coaches never do) and the lineup looks very similar to what we have seen of late.
At Monday’s morning skate, Joe Thornton was in and Anton Lundell was out due to a minor maintenance deal per Joel Quenneville.
The big story for the Panthers on Monday would be whether defenseman Chase Priskie gets in.
Priskie, who grew up in Pembroke Pines, would be the first South Florida product to suit up for the Panthers in the history of the franchise.
With two other former Jr. Panthers in the lineup for the Coyotes (Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere), Monday seems like the perfect night to get Priskie in.
But it does not look like that will be the case.
Spencer Knight, who was terrific in his one start this season in Tampa Bay, gets the start with Sergei Bobrovsky expected to get two of the next three to close the week.
NEWS & NOTES
Arizona has been outscored in each of the three periods this season but none worse than the second where its opponent holds a 12-2 advantage.
Florida, which has scored the first goal in all five games so far, is outscoring its opponents 7-4 in the second and 10-4 in the third.
— The last time the Panthers played the Coyotes Feb. 25, 2020 in Glendale. Florida won 2-1 thanks in part to Bobrovsky making 37 saves.
That game came a day after the blockbuster trade deadline deal with Carolina in which Florida sent Vincent Trocheck to the Hurricanes for Erik Haula, Priskie, Eetu Luostarinen and Lucas Wallmark.
— The Panthers’ power play has struggled a bit this season as it finds its way and Monday offers an opportunity to get well fast.
Florida, which went 1-for-7 with the man advantage Saturday, is ranked 27th in the league with three goals in 22 tries.
Arizona’s penalty kill, however, has been a sieve.
The Coyotes are last in the NHL by giving up seven goals on 11 power play chances. Arizona doesn’t take many penalties, however, which is a good thing. Florida’s penalty kill is ranked 11th in the league with a success rate of 86 percent.
— Florida has not only won its first five games to start this season, but dating to April 27, the Panthers have won their past 11 regular season games which would be the second-longest win streak in franchise history behind a 12-game run from Dec. 15, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016.
The last time the Panthers lost a regular season game was April 26 in Nashville.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
ARIZONA COYOTES AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Monday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560-AM
- 2021 regular season series: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Arizona leads 19-14-2, 3 ties
- Odds via Bovada.lv: Florida (PL -1.5 -160) — (ML -415) — U/O 6
- Up next: Boston at Florida, Wednesday, 7; Arizona at Tampa Bay, Thursday, 7
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 9 Sam Bennett // 74 Owen Tippett
17 Mason Marchment // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 13 Sam Reinhart
77 Frank Vatrano // 19 Joe Thornton // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
44 Kevin Connauton // 62 Brandon Montour
30 Spencer Knight
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratched: Chase Priskie, Anton Lundell, Ryan Lomberg
Injured: Noel Acciari, Markus Nutivaara, Olli Juolevi
PROJECTED ARIZONA COYOTES LINEUP
67 Lawson Crouse // 22 Johan Larsson // 9 Clayton Keller
93 Dmitrij Jaskin // 8 Nick Schmaltz // 81 Phil Kessel
16 Andrew Ladd // 83 Jay Beagle // 10 Ryan Dzingle
88 Liam O’Brien // 36 Christian Fischer // 21 Loui Eriksson
6 Jakob Chychrun // 86 Anton Stralman
14 Shayne Gostisbehere // 77 Victor Soderstrom
46 Ilya Lyubushkin // 25 Conor Timmins
40 Carter Hutton
70 Karel Vejmelka