The Florida Panthers are catching the Anaheim Ducks at the wrong time.
After losing seven straight games, the rebuilding Ducks have found a little something of late with wins in three of their past four games.
Not saying this a good team or anything, but at least they are feeling good about themselves coming into tonight’s game.
The Panthers will reunite with a good friend tonight as Frank Vatrano is up on the Anaheim top line and is third on the team with four goals through the first 12 games.
Florida will, of course, be without one of its top guns as Matthew Tkachuk was slapped with a two-game suspension by the NHL for hitting Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick in the head with his stick on Saturday night.
The Panthers are expected to have Spencer Knight in net for the second time on this road trip — one Florida has started 1-2-0.
The team will fly home on Monday.
Anaheim is expected to start veteran John Gibson (2-6-1) in net tonight after Anthony Stolarz got the shootout win in San Jose last night.
Florida moved around some of its lines prior to Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Kings and with Tkachuk missing, there will be some more adjusting.
With Sam Reinhart back with Anton Lundell — and that line getting so much icetime on Saturday — we are now calling that trio Florida’s second line with Eetu Luostarinen getting his fourth goal of the season.
Sam Bennett is projected to be joined by Nick Cousins and Aleksi Heponiemi on the third.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT ANAHEIM DUCKS
- When: Sunday, 9 p.m.
- Where: Honda Center, Anaheim
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; NHL Network
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-190); Puck line (-1.5, +120); Over/Under 6.5 (-115/-105)
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 20-14-2, 3 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 6 Colin White
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 20 Aleksi Heponiemi
94 Ryan Lomberg // 12 Eric Staal // 38 Rudolfs Balcers
42 Gus Forsling // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
3 Matt Kiersted // 18 Marc Staal
30 Spencer Knight
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratch: Lucas Carlsson
Suspended: Matthew Tkachuk (Anaheim, Carolina)
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles), Aaron Ekblad (LTIR-groin), Patric Hornqvist (d2d)
PROJECTED ANAHEIM DUCKS LINEUP
14 Adam Henrique // 11 Trevor Zegras // 77 Frank Vatrano
44 Maxime Comtois // 16 Ryan Strome // 19 Troy Terry
49 Max Jones // 37 Mason McTavish // 20 Brett Leason
45 Colton White // 21 Isac Lunderstrom // 33 Jakob Silfverberg
29 Dmitry Kulikov // 3 John Klingberg
13 Simon Benoit // 4 Cam Fowler
28 Nathan Beaulieu // 22 Kevin Shattenkirk
36 John Gibson
41 Anthony Stolarz