The Florida Panthers will be making their first appearance on national television this season Wednesday night but Brandon Montour says he did not know anything about it.
Coach Andrew Brunette says his team has bigger things on their mind than making their TNT debut.
The Carolina Hurricanes have not only played four games while the Panthers were enjoying their midseason All-Star break. They also lost three of those four games including their last one Saturday at Minnesota.
Yes, Carolina has been angrily waiting for the Panthers to come to town.
Florida is 2-0 against the Hurricanes this season after losing six of eight to the Hurricanes last year. The two teams are also up near the top of the NHL standings.
For the first time since the days of the Southeast Division, the Panthers and Hurricanes is now considered a rivalry game.
“We haven’t played in two weeks and they are chomping at the bit to get at us,’’ Brunette lamented. “I hope we’re up for it. … They don’t like us so it’s a double-whammy. We have had really good, competitive games with them the past two years so I think we know what to expect.
“They are really good in their building and they haven’t gotten out of the break the way they would want to, at least statisically and point-wise. They’ll be ready for us.”
The Panthers have been on the ice since Friday afternoon but have not played a real game since losing to the host Rangers on Feb. 2. That is over two weeks ago.
Florida came out of its 13-day Covid-Christmas break flying out of the gate, winning its first four and eight of nine.
Can the Panthers do it again?
”You never really know what to expect coming out of these breaks,” Brunette said. “I have seen it go all sorts of ways. This team is more mature and more competitive than we were a few years ago when we came out slumping out of the break.
So you don’t really know and it keeps you up at night. It is very uneasy watching games right now for me. I watched the Minnesota game the other night because it was two teams we have to play right off the bat, Minnesota and Carolina. I shouldn’t have done it. It left some restless nights.’’
— The Panthers are expected to not only start Sergei Bobrovsky on Wednesday night, but he could get the call for the entirety of the three-game road trip.
Brunette said the plan was for Spencer Knight to remain with AHL Charlotte at least until the road trip is over.
Jonas Johansson, claimed off waivers in December, has yet to appear in a game for the Panthers although it is possible he does this week.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT CAROLINA HURRICANES
- When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV: TNT
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM, SiriusXM.
- Fanduel’s NHL odds — Carolina favored: Puck line (-1.5, +176); Money line (-118); Over/Under 6.5 (-110/-110)
- Last season: Carolina won 6-0-2
- All-time regular season series: Carolina leads 69-45-9, 11 ties
- This season — Florida 2-0: @Florida 5, Carolina 2 (Nov. 6), Florida 4, @Carolina 3 OT (Jan. 8)
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 8 Sam Bennett // 74 Owen Tippett
17 Mason Marchment // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
32 Lucas Carlsson // 62 Brandon Montour
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
35 Jonas Johansson
Scratched: Joe Thornton, Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari
Injured: Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Maxim Mamin (IR), Olli Juolevi (IR), Chase Priskie (IR)
PROJECTED CAROLINA HURRICANES LINEUP
86 Teuvo Teravainen // 20 Sebastian Aho // 88 Martin Necas
37 Andrei Svechnikov // 16 Vincent Trocheck // 24 Seth Jarvis
21 Nino Niederreiter // 11 Jordan Staal // 71 Jesper Fast
48 Jordan Martinook // 82 Jesperi Kotkaniemi // 18 Derek Stepan
74 Jaccob Slavin // 77 Tony DeAngelo
76 Brady Skjei // 22 Brett Pesce
28 Ian Cole // 25 Ethan Bear
31 Frederik Andersen
32 Antti Raanta