THE LOWDOWN is a gameday preview produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. The contents of THE LOWDOWN and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read the LOWDOWN, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers
|Place||7th in Metropolitan||7th in Atlantic|
Following a 3-2 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators, the Panthers are looking to extend their hot streak into game two of their three-game homestand. The Cats will be welcoming the Carolina Hurricanes to BB&T Center tonight for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. The Canes will be mustering up to full strength for a final push as their playoff hopes are currently on life support, meanwhile the Panthers will try to find the eye of the storm and play the spoiler role against their old Southeast Division rivals.
"When he's on, there's not much getting through."
Hurricanes’ defenseman Jay Harrison: On Carolina’s 5-4 loss to the NY Islanders on Tuesday in which the team gave up four goals in the opening 11 minutes:
“It’s unexplainable, the effort we had. That’s not our game, not our preparation. We clearly were not ready to go. The accountability in the room…this can’t be tolerated. The effort and inspiration has to be better.”
Jesse Winchester: On the recent injuries he has sustained and on his return to the lineup Tuesday against Ottawa:
"The hand, I broke it blocking a shot to help save a win. This [groin injury] sucks. Just a fluky thing; never had a problem like that before. Hope it's my last but I'm healthy and ready to go; fresh legs and I'm chomping at the bit."
It took Carolina a while to muster up to Hurricane strength on Tuesday night against the Islanders. Their first period looked a bit more like a light drizzle as the team gave up four goals in the opening eleven minutes.
Netminder Cam Ward got the start in Raleigh but did not last long as he gave up three goals on nine shots before being pulled in favor of Anton Khudobin. There is nothing the twitter-ati loves more than criticising goaltenders, so let’s take a look at what they thought about Ward’s effort in net…
Cam Ward proving he is #Isles material, Snow must be impressed.— Scott (@StAlphonzo) March 25, 2014
Cam Ward is worldwide trending... things like that happens if they score three times in three minutes!— Eva Uyttenhove (@Eva_U) March 25, 2014
Special thanks to cam ward for ruining my life...or at least my fantasy hockey season— Henry (@Fake_RonBarr) March 25, 2014
Red Hot Cats to Watch
Florida’s 20-year-old center submitted a dazzling performance on Tuesday against the Senators, scoring the game-tying goal in regulation while adding a highlight finish in the shootout. There is really not much more to say. Let’s look back at the clinic Trocheck put on during the shootout:
Nick Bjugstad recorded an assist in Florida’s win against Ottawa on Tuesday. The helper gives him 33 points (14-19-33) this season which puts him in seventh place among NHL rookies. He is ranked fourth overall among rookies in even-strength goals this season with 14.
Pick a Panther
(Selecting a Panthers’ player to score in tonight’s game)
Current streak: 0
A fun way to add some excitement to your Panthers’ viewing experience is by picking one of the Panthers’ goal scorers for every game. I will be picking players for the remainder of the season and if you want to play along, tweet your picks to @FlaPanthers, #PickaPanther. If you pick right, you might get a re-tweet (commitment is not really my thing)…
Pat’s Pick: Brandon Pirri
The Panthers’ precocious 22-year-old has three goals with his new team since his arrival from the Chicago Blackhawks. He will be playing in his first career game against the Hurricanes tonight. I am thinking he starts off with a bang.
Cats Stat Pack
26: All-time wins for the Panthers at home against the Hurricanes. They have a 26-10-8-8 record when taking on the Hurricanes in South Florida.
37: Number of saves made by Luongo on Tuesday against Ottawa. The game was his third 35-plus save performance since re-joining the Panthers. He has a .923 save percentage in his nine games with the Cats.
Enjoy tonight’s game. Go Panthers!
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