The Florida Panthers have not been very happy with their game starts of late, but if they can start off tonight against the Arizona Coyotes as they did Tuesday in St. Louis, they will definitely be cool with that.
They just want to finish things differently is all.
Tuesday night, the Panthers absolutely dominated the Blues in the opening period of their game — outshooting St. Louis 20-5 and had 30 shot attempts.
The Blues, who rarely had the puck in the second half of the period, mustered only six shot attempts through the first 20.
Florida, per NaturalStatTrick.com, had 20 scoring chances in the first; the Blues had just one.
Yet the Panthers were only leading 1-0.
When the Blues got their act together in the second period, the flow of the game changed — and the Panthers ended up losing a very winnable game 4-3 in overtime.
Florida is now 3-3-4 away from the friendly confines of Sunrise, a record which needs to start trending in a different direction — especially since the Panthers started 3-0 on the road this season..
“We have been at home a lot this year so it is important for us to establish a road game,” Sam Reinhart said. “We have been average on the road. This is a good opportunity for us to get back on track.”
Yes, the NHL odds have the Panthers as a heavy favorite to snap their seven-game road losing streak against the slumping Coyotes.
Not only is the team dealing with more off-ice stuff surrounding their future in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, but the team has lost its past three in lopsided fashion and five of six overall.
The Panthers picked a good game to try and get their road game going again.
Coach Andrew Brunette said that Olli Juolevi will make his Florida debut on Friday night with Sergei Bobrovsky in net.
Sasha Barkov, who left Tuesday’s game in the third period, is expected to return as is Anthony Duclair. He has missed the past six games.
UPDATE: Brunette said in his pregame media availability that both Barkov and Duclair would not play.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT ARIZONA COYOTES
- WHEN: Friday, 9 p.m.
- WHERE: Gila River Arena; Glendale, Ariz.
- NHL Betting Odds from FanDuel: Florida favored (PL -1.5 -130) — (ML -345) — U/O 6
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560
- Last season: Did not play
- This season: @Florida 5, Arizona 3 (Oct. 26)
- All-time regular season series: Arizona leads 19-15-2, 3 ties
- Up next: Florida at Colorado, Sunday, 8; Philadelphia at Arizona, Saturday, 9
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 9 Sam Bennett // 13 Sam Reinhart
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 15 Anton Lundell // 98 Maxim Mamin
77 Frank Vatrano // 19 Joe Thornton // 74 Owen Tippett
94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
4 Olli Juolevi // 62 Brandon Montour
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Scratched: Lucas Carlsson
Injured: Noel Acciari (LTIR), Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Mason Marchment (IR), Anthony Duclair, Sasha Barkov
PROJECTED ARIZONA COYOTES LINEUP
9 Clayton Keller // 72 Travis Boyd // 81 Phil Kessel
67 Lawson Crouse // 29 Barrett Hayton // 8 Nick Schmaltz
26 Antoine Roussel // 83 Jay Beagle // 21 Loui Eriksson
16 Andrew Ladd // 10 Ryan Dzingel // 36 Christian Fischer
6 Jakob Chychrun // 46 Ilya Lyubushkin
14 Shayne Gostisbehere // 61 Dysin Mayo
75 Kyle Capobianco // 86 Anton Stralman
31 Scott Wedgewood
70 Karel Vejmelka