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FHN TODAY: A Coyotes Reunion with the Florida Panthers



Florida panthers
Nick Bjugstad hangs out with his pal Jaromir Jagr in the Florida Panthers locker room during the 2016-17 season. — Photo @GeorgeRichards

SUNRISE — The Arizona Coyotes had some familiar names announced at FLA Live Arena on Tuesday night as their starting lineup against the Florida Panthers definitely had a South Florida feel.

Of the five skaters in the starting lineup, four had ties either to the Panthers or South Florida.

With defensemen Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere — two former Jr. Panthers — in the lineup, that left Josh Brown as the lone player with ties here to not be starting.

Former Panthers Nick Bjugstad and Lawson Crouse were also in the lineup.

For Bjugstad, a player who signed long-term with the Panthers and did not want to leave, this place has a special meaning and probably always will.

That has to mean something.

Despite being gone a while, Bjugstad is still a favorite around these parts.

Good people are recognized for being just that — and Bjugstad is as good as they get.

Perhaps one day, he will wear the Panthers’ jersey again.

”This place means a lot to me and people here mean a lot to me,” said Bjugstad, who was the 19th overall pick in Dale Tallon’s first Florida draft in 2010 and was traded to the Penguins in 2019 to clear salary cap space for their free agency frenzy later that summer.

“I really enjoyed my time and still have some guys on that team I really care for. But when you step on that ice, you want to compete and battle. I know how good Barkov and Ekblad are, but for me, to come back, it is kind of surreal. It would have been nice to get the win. But that’s a good team.”

The old barn on the edge of the Everglades probably means something to Crouse as well.

When the Panthers made him the 11th overall selection in 2015, the draft was held in Sunrise.

Florida traded him in 2016 to help rid themselves of the Dave Bolland contract.

Bjugstad and Chychrun — who was doing his dad Jeff proud as he worked the game for Bally Sports Florida — scored two of Arizona’s three goals in Florida’s 5-3 win.

Clayton Keller got the other one.

He is from Missouri, so, no love for that guy.

But, speaking of old friends, you see Jaromir Jagr score a goal on Tuesday?

Jags is about to turn 51 and is still bringing it.



Matthew Tkachuk, who was born in Arizona while his dad Keith was playing for the Phoenix Coyotes, had himself a night Tuesday.

While Matthew got his first hat trick with the Panthers, he knows there is another level he can hit.

The Panthers cannot wait to see him keep on rolling.

Spencer Knight was pretty good in the Florida win as well.

— Speaking of Jagr: Eric Staal became the oldest Panthers’ player to record a multi-goal game since Jags did it on March 10, 2016.

— You like video? Well check out the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see all of our offerings in one place.

We have postgame from Paul Maurice, Tkachuk, Marc Staal and Knight as well as pregame stuff from Sam Reinhart and Eetu Luostarinen.

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The Washington Capitals lost to Buffalo on Tuesday night and are ready to turn that page.

— The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost their past three. Is everyone there on the same page?

— What are the Philadelphia Flyers to do with their goalies?

— Should the New York Islanders take a chance on Jakub Vrana?

— By the way, the Detroit Red Wings placed him on waivers Tuesday.

— The Calgary Flames need to turn those posts into goals.



  • When: Friday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit 
  • Streaming/TV: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 4-0
  • This season (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 5, Detroit 1 (Dec. 8)
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 34-19-6, 5 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Sunday at Dallas, 3:30 p.m.

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