The Florida Panthers are still looking for what has turned into an elusive road win and they will be going into a tough situation to do so Saturday against the host Carolina Hurricanes.
The Panthers have lost nine of their past 10 road games with the only win in that span coming against the lowly Arizona Coyotes.
Things are not exactly dire, however, as Florida has found a way to get at least a point in five of those nine losses — including Thursday’s 6-5 shootout in Dallas.
“We have been a .500 team on the road and we have been talking a lot about that,” said Sasha Barkov, who scored twice in Dallas. “We have been really good at home, have established that identity at home and now we need to figure out how to do it on the road, how to be a good road team.
“We play well at home and need to bring the same energy. We have to bring our own energy.”
The Panthers are 4-4-5 on the road this season and lost three of four to the Hurricanes in Raleigh last season. To be fair, Florida also lost three of four to Carolina in Sunrise as well.
Florida did beat the Hurricanes 5-2 in the first meeting this season — coming in Sunrise.
The two teams were supposed to play on Dec. 27 but it was one of the games postponed by the NHL.
“The guys played hard,” Joe Thornton said Thursday. “We thought we could have gotten two but now we’ll get our rest and get ready for a big one against Carolina. The guys are upbeat, feel good and competed hard tonight.”
Carolina comes into the game a leading the Metropolitan Division.
The Hurricanes have won their past five games including the first three coming out of the extended holiday break.
Carolina beat Calgary on Friday night meaning Saturday will be the second of a back-to-back for the Hurricanes.
The Panthers will start Sergei Bobrovsky in net despite a rough start in Dallas in which he gave up five goals on 36 shots — not including the two he allowed in the shootout.
Florida will be without Patric Hornqvist who entered protocol so Aleksi Heponiemi draws in.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT CAROLINA HURRICANES
- When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
- Where: PNC Arena; Raleigh, N.C.
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WKIS 99.9 FM-2, SiriusXM
- NHL Betting Odds from FanDuel: Carolina favored (PL -1.5 +184) — (ML -113) — U/O 6.5
- Last season: Carolina won 6-0-2
- All-time regular season series: Carolina leads 69-45-11, 8 ties
- This season: @Florida 5, Carolina 2 (Nov. 6)
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 98 Maxim Mamin
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 15 Anton Lundell // 10 Anthony Duclair
77 Frank Vatrano // 19 Joe Thornton // 74 Owen Tippett
94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 20 Aleksi Heponiemi
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: Olli Juolevi
Injured: Noel Acciari (LTIR), Markus Nutivaara (LTIR)
Taxi Squad: Matt Kiersted, Chase Priskie
Covid Protocol: Mason Marchment, Sam Reinhart, Spencer Knight, Patric Hornqvist
Suspended: Sam Bennett (Game 3 of 3)
PROJECTED CAROLINA HURRICANES LINEUP
21 Nino Niederreiter // 29 Sebastian Aho // 86 Teuvo Teravainen
37 Andrei Svechnikov // 16 Vincent Trocheck // 71 Jesper Fast
82 Jesperi Kotkaniemi // 11 Jordan Staal // 88 Martin Necas
78 Steven Lorentz // 18 Derek Stephan // 24 Seth Jarvis
74 Jaccob Slavin // 77 Tony DeAngelo
76 Brady Skjei // 22 Brett Pesce
28 Ian Cole // 25 Ethan Bear
32 Antti Raanta
31 Frederik Andersen