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Florida Panthers Now ‘Must See TV.’ On ABC Today in Detroit

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Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk is surrounded by media at his locker stall in Sunrise during the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

It was not too long ago that the Florida Panthers only got an obligatory game on national television, often a 10:30 p.m. start in San Jose on basic cable.

Things certainly have changed.

When the NHL’s television partners divided up the schedule before the season, the Panthers were certainly well represented with four games on TNT, two on ABC and another on ESPN.

That does not include the five ‘national’ games which are exclusively streamed on ESPN+ or the games NHL Network picks up throughout the season.

A few weeks ago, a third game was picked up by ABC — today’s game in Detroit — and one of the streaming games was returned to Florida’s local rightsholder.

So, why the national love for the Panthers?

Winning has certainly helped.

Florida, one may recall, made it to the Stanley Cup Final last year.

Personalities also play a big role in the Panthers being a team sought after by the national broadcasters.

Hey, this is a fun team to watch.

“This is, for sure, a positive,” said Florida coach Paul Maurice, whose entertaining press conferences during the playoffs were certainly noticed. “We are exciting. Stuff happens when we play. We have skill, we have speed, we have some physicality to our game. It gives the broadcasters something to talk about.

“We also have fantastic personalities. Matthew Tkachuk is a phenomenal interview. I like listening to him, because what he says is so good. We have great personalities who play a great game. We rarely bore people.’’

Last year, the Panthers had a number of regular season games on TNT but were not picked up by ABC.

This year, they will have three.

The first is today at 3 in Detroit; ABC will also broadcast Florida’s road games against the Rangers (March 23) and Boston (April 6).

Today’s game can be seen locally on WPLG-10.

DETROIT PANTHERS

The Panthers have won 9 out of their past 10 games and are 13-3 since losing 3-2 in overtime to the Red Wings on Jan. 16.

Dylan Larkin scored in overtime to give Detroit its first win over the Panthers since the Covid-shortened 2021 season.

Detroit came into the game 0-8-2 in its past 10 against the Panthers — and had not won in Sunrise since Feb. 7, 2021.

Florida has played extremely well in Detroit over the years.

Of 33 games played either at Joe Louis Arena or Little Caesars Arena, the Panthers have won 21.

Florida is 12-2 in the Red Wings’ new palace in downtown Detroit.

Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start today. He is 25-6-1 against the Red Wings and made 22 saves in Florida’s 2-0 win in Detroit on Nov. 2.

The other starting goalie: Alex Lyon.

Lyon, who made 32 saves in his first game against the Panthers since signing with the Red Wings as a free agent on July 1, has won four of his past five starts but is coming off a 5-3 loss to the Islanders. 

“Obviously it always feels good to beat the team you played for last year but I respect those guys and they have a fantastic team over there,” Lyon said after the win in Sunrise. “We played really well tonight, I am super happy for the boys. Proud of the way we battled back.”

— The Panthers did not practice Friday; Maurice said Jonah Gadjovich could return to the lineup today, but that will not be known until this afternoon when he meets with the media in Detroit.

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ DETROIT RED WINGS  

  • When: Saturday, 3 p.m.
  • Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit 
  • TV/Streaming: ABC (Chs. 10, 25)/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL/Panthers App
  • Local Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-155); Puck line (-1.5, +145); Over/Under 6.5 (-120/-110)
  • Last Season: Florida won 3-0
  • This Season (Tied 1-1) — At Detroit: Panthers 2, Wings 0 (Nov. 2); Saturday. At Florida: Wings 3, Panthers 2 OT (Jan. 18); March 30
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 37-19-7, 5 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Monday at New York Rangers, 7 p.m.

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (40-16-4) LINES

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart

21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 17 Evan Rodrigues

12 Jonah Gadjovich // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 94 Ryan Lomberg

42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad

77 Niko Mikkola // 62 Brandon Montour

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson// 7 Dmitry Kulikov

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

41 Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Josh Mahura, Steven Lorentz, Will Lockwood

Injured: None

PROJECTED DETROIT RED WINGS (33-21-6) LINES

93 Alex DeBrincat // 71 Dylan Larkin // 88 Patrick Kane

27 Michael Rasmussen // 37 J.T. Compher // 23 Lucas Raymond

57 David Perron // 18 Andrew Copp // 90 Joe Veleno

14 Robby Fabbri // 36 Christian Fischer // 17 Daniel Sprong

96 Jake Walman // 53 Moritz Seider

8 Ben Chiarot // 46 Jeff Petry

2 Olli Maatta // 41 Shayne Gostisbehere

34 Alex Lyon

47 James Reimer

Scratched: Klim Kostin, Justin Holl

Injured: Ville Husso (lower body)

Red Wings lines courtesy NHL.com

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