The Panthers have played in a couple of classics this past week, rallying from two-goal, third-period deficits in games against Dallas on Thursday and again Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Carolina is back at BB&T Center on Monday for the rematch, so what can we expect?
The way this season has gone, a hard-fought game is likely coming up.
The Panthers don’t blow many people out and they certainly don’t get blown out very often themseves.
Of their 20 games so far, the Panthers have been involved in 12 games decided by a single goal. Florida has won eight of those games, getting at least a point in 11 of the 12.
Of the multi-goal games, the Panthers have: Won by 2 twice, won by 3 twice and beat Detroit by 5.
Florida has not lost a game by two goals, but have lost two by 3 and one by 5 (Tampa Bay).
Other than that, one-goal affairs.
So, we can make a pretty good guess at how Monday will go, right?
The big question around the Panthers going into Monday is who will play and where.
The biggest question mark, is what happens with Brett Connolly.
Florida placed the veteran forward on waivers Sunday and we will know at noon whether he’s going somewhere else or sticking around.
The thought here is he does not get claimed due to his contract (two-plus seasons left at $3.5 million AAV) and the Panthers figured the same.
So, if he does clear, does he go to the taxi squad? Eventually, maybe. Monday? Perhaps.
UPDATE: Connolly cleared and was placed on the taxi squad. Riley Stillman and Owen Tippett recalled to the main roster.
Joel Quenneville has liked what he has seen, for the most part, when he has given guys a look with Mason Marchment being the latest success story.
By placing Connolly on waivers, Florida would be able to move him down to the taxi squad when needed to bring up someone else without affecting Connolly’s salary.
With Anthony Duclair hurt — Quenneville says he will miss a week so Florida likely puts him on IR — Tippett gets back in.
So does Noel Acciari who has missed time with an upper-body injury. He was on the ice Monday morning and Quenneville says he is playing.
Rookie Grigori Denisenko could make his NHL debut soon after being recalled from AHL Syracuse last week.
Denisenko was on the ice with the taxi squad/scratch players Monday.
Gustav Forsling was back skating Monday but he will not play; Kevin Connauton is in for his third consecutive game.
Quenneville is going back with Chris Driedger even though Sergei Bobrovsky helped keep the Panthers within striking distance in both comebacks against the Stars and Canes.
Bobrovsky was really good and deserves the net again. But with the way the schedule is set, if Driedger doesn’t go tonight, he may not have seen a game in a while.
Florida has back-to-back games this weekend in Nashville and Carolina.
“When you play, you feel the the rhythm, you get into the groove,’’ Bobrovsky said Saturday night.
“I tried to do my best to help the guys win the game.’’
Time for the Mailbag
If you are reading this on Monday morning, well, you still have time to get a question in for our special ‘Leap Year’ February Panthers Mailbag.
Ask me anything about the Panthers you want.
Actually, ask anything you want. I’m in the mood to answer some questions.
You can leave your questions in the comment section here, or click on the Mailbag post and leave in the comment section there.
Carolina Hurricanes at Florida Panthers
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise
- Tickets: AVAILABLE HERE
- TV/Radio: FSF/560-AM
- Records: Florida 13-4-3 (T-1st in Central); Carolina 13-6-1 (3rd)
- All-time series: Carolina leads 64-45-6, 11 ties
- Season series: Tied 1-1
- Last season: Carolina won two of three
- Last time out: Carolina 4, Panthers 3 SO
- Up next: Florida at Nashville, Thursday, 8 p.m.
- Panthers This Week — Monday: Carolina at Florida, 7; Thursday: Florida at Nashville, 8; Saturday: Florida at 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 — 74 Owen Tippett
94 Ryan Lomberg — 83 Juho Lammikko — 55 Noel Acciari
52 MacKenzie Weegar — 5 Aaron Ekblad
3 Keith Yandle — 6 Anton Stralman
44 Kevin Connauton — 7 Radko Gudas
60 Chris Driedger
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratches: D Riley Stillman, F Vinnie Hinostroza
Injured: D Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Anthony Duclair (lower body), D Gustav Forsling (upper body), D Noah Juulsen (not specified)
Taxi squad: F Grigori Denisenko, F Brett Connolly, G Philippe Desrosiers
Florida power play (15/57 26.3% — 10th in NHL)
Florida penalty kill (45/58 77.6% — 19th in NHL)
PP1: Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Patric Hornqvist, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle
PP2: Alex Wennberg, Frank Vatrano, Owen Tippett, Carter Verhaeghe, Anton Stralman
PROJECTED CAROLINA HURRICANES LINES
37 Andrei Svechnikov — 20 Sebastian Aho — 71 Jesper Fast
23 Brock McGinn — 16 Vincent Trocheck — 88 Martin Necas
21 Nino Niederreiter — 11 Jordan Staal — 13 Warren Foegele
18 Cedric Paquette — 78 Steven Lorentz — 48 Jordan Martinook
74 Jaccob Slavin — 19 Dougie Hamilton
76 Brady Skjei — 22 Brett Pesce
4 Hayden Fluery — 24 Jake Bean
39 Alex Nedeljkovic
47 James Reimer
Carolina power play (18/65 27.7% — 6th in NHL)
Carolina penalty kill (56/70 80% — 12th in NHL)
PP1: Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck, Dougie Hamilton, Andrei Svechnikov
PP2: Jesper Fast, Teuvo Teravainen, Nino Niederreiter, Brettt Pesce, Martin Necas