The Florida Panthers will soon be coming home and they hope to be doing so with a 2-2 split of their west coast trip.
The Panthers go into Anaheim tonight following a tough 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings late Saturday night.
It was a game that had a little bit of everything — including Kings goalie Jonathan Quick getting into it with Matthew Tkachuk not long after a controversial goalie interference call went Quick’s way and got a goal waved off.
You can read all about that below as we wrap up the week that was — and was not.
Florida kicked off the week with a strange loss in Arizona before having to claw its way back to beat San Jose in a shootout.
Things certainly are not coming easy to this year’s edition of the Panthers.
We will get into this team’s road struggles this week.
A new FHN Mailbag is also coming this week so stay tuned.
The Panthers had the lead twice in the second period of Saturday night’s game in Los Angeles, but defensive breakdowns and a weird call on the ice certainly cost them in a 5-4 loss.
The Kings were happy with the win — but not thrilled with Tkachuk.
They know him a lot better out west, and they do not like him very much.
We will see if the NHL lets him play in Anaheim tonight.
— UPDATE: They will not. Tkachuk has been suspended two games.
— Hear from coach Paul Maurice, Carter Verhaeghe and Eetu Luostarinen following Saturday’s loss in Los Angeles on the FHN YouTube Channel which can be accessed RIGHT HERE or click on the video below.
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With as much as the Florida Panthers gave up to get him, it’s going to be hard to say they ‘won’ the blockbuster trade with the Calgary Flames.
But the Panthers are certainly very happy having Tkachuk — and he is off to a fantastic start.
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— Aleksi Heponiemi is back with the Panthers after a strong preseason and start with the AHL Charlotte Checkers.
He may play tonight.
Who would have thought in 2020 thatLuostarinen would be the highlight of the Florida Panthers’ four-player return in the Vincent Trocheck trade?
He got his fourth goal of the season on Saturday night. Not bad.
— The Panthers had a two-goal lead going into the third, but needed a late goal from Verhaeghe and some heroics from Sam Reinhart and Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Sharks in a shootout.
When Aaron Ekblad was out with injury the previous two seasons, it was MacKenzie Weegar taking over as Florida’s top defenseman.
Now it is Gus Forsling’s turn — and he is relishing the temporary opportunity.
— Look who is back in San Jose? It’s Rudy Balcers!
The Panthers had a familiar face join them for practice in Arizona as Ekblad — wearing a yellow no-contact jersey — was back.
— Special teams have been a thorn in Florida’s side so far this season but it was a killer in a surprising loss to the Coyotes.
Sasha Barkov has had a couple of memorable linemates over his years with the Panthers, butVerhaeghe has proven to be a lasting one.
And these two are “just getting started.”
This story is also part of the FHN+ exclusive content to subscribers.
— After all those years of long, traffic-clogged drives on I-10 to the Coyotes’ faraway arena in Glendale, the Panthers got their first taste of Tempe.
— The Coyotes have a lot of former Panthers on and off the ice.
The Panthers need some guys to step up with Ekblad out another few games with Josh Mahura and Matt Kiersted seeing their roles with the team increase.
— After a quick stop at home to play the Senators, the Panthers hit the road for their first west coast trip of the season.
Barkov’s choice of a goal song made his teammates laugh which was probably the point.
The Panthers were happy he finally got to play it.
— The Panthers got a lot of production from its top line — with some help from Brandon Montour — in a 5-3 win over the Senators.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT ANAHEIM DUCKS
- When: Sunday, 9 p.m.
- Where: Honda Center, Anaheim
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 20-14-2, 3 ties