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.
Florida Panthers vs. Calgary Flames
|Place||7th in Atlantic||6th in Pacific|
The Florida Panthers are set to kick off their season-ending five-game home stretch. After wrapping up their road campaign on Tuesday in New York, the Cats will be in South Florida from here on out. They get things started tonight when they take on the Calgary Flames at 7:30 pm ET.
Here is tonight’s Lowdown:
Red Hot Cats to Watch
Dmitry Kulikov: With points in his last two games, Kulikov now has 19 points on the season (8-11-19). More impressively, Kulikov has been gobbling up ice-time like Robert Baratheon gobbles up wild boar at a wedding feast. Florida’s 23-year-old D-man has been consistently topping the 20:00 minute mark each game and his season average TOI of 21:33 is second on the team, trailing only fellow ice-hound Brian Campbell.
Brandon Pirri: Goals in back-to-back games have stretched Pirri’s total to five since joining the team in March. In his 16 games with the Cats, Pirri has accumulated nine points (5-4-9). The 22-year-old forward has been especially helpful on the powerplay as four of his points have come with the Cats on the man-advantage.
Pre-game Tweet of the Day
Panthers vs Flames tonight, get your popcorn ready!— Matt Man na na na (@modnao23) April 4, 2014
There is a Sean Monahan Face Game
I haven’t figured out how to play it yet, but it exists.
Flames Team Scope
The Flames and the Panthers are both young teams with bright futures ahead of them. Calgary’s playoff hopes may be gone, but like the Cats they have a lot of players who are just getting their first tastes of NHL action.
Despite Calgary’s position in the standing, don’t expect the Flames to come out flat. Veteran left-winger Curtis Glencross made it clear that Calgary intends to compete until the very end this season.
"This is an evaluation period for everyone," said Glencross. "None of us like to lose. We've got a lot of pride. Obviously, we're not in the playoffs now, but at the same time, you don't like losing games. We're going to play it hard right to the end."
The Flames are in the midst of a five-game Eastern Conference swing. They backed up their talk last night as they beat the playoff bound Lightning 4-1 in Tampa.
The Last Time
It’s only fair that the Flames come to South Florida four games into their road trip and on the second half of a back-to-back. When the Panthers took on the Flames in Alberta back in November, they were playing their fifth game of a brutal five-game Western Conference swing on the back end of their second back-to-back of the trip. Despite their tired legs, the Panthers managed to pick up a point in a 4-3 OT loss. The Panthers will be well rested tonight and looking to return the favor to the road weary Flames.
On a side note, Jimmy Hayes scored his first Panthers goal in Florida’s November tilt in Calgary.
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 retweet (commitment is not really my thing)…
Pat’s Pick: Sean Bergenheim
Bergenheim is two goals away from his career high of 17 so expect him to be netting a couple during the five-game homestand. Hopefully he comes through tonight and I can finally get one on the board.
Jump Jiri Jump!
That’s all for tonight. Let’s go Panthers!
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