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Fans Excited For First Pre-Season Games, Season

Sunday, 09.15.2013 / 1:30 PM ET / News
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Fans Excited For First Pre-Season Games, Season

By: Natalie Baj, University of Miami

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - With the anticipation of Monday’s double-header against the Nashville Predators brewing, diehard fans made their way to the Saveology.com Iceplex Sunday morning to take in the last practice. Some already have their eyes on a few players.

Sporting customized Panthers jerseys, complete with their last name, the Vezina family spent their morning watching the Panthers run drills and practice plays. Armand Vezina, his wife, and four children have been season ticket holders for three years. Vezina has his eye on 20-year-old defenseman, Jonathan Racine.

“I’ve been watching him [Racine] for the past two to three years,” said Armand Vezina. “He’s getting bigger, stronger and I personally feel his skills are just increasing.”

His son, Armand Jr., 14, admires forward Scott Gomez’s awareness on the ice and thinks it’s “pretty sweet” the way he moves the puck.

Impressed with the team’s overall progress so far, eight year old, Aidan Farro hopes Jose Theodore makes an appearance as goalie.

Although fans have different opinions on the players, the one thing they all have in common is their love for the Cats.

Proudly wearing her autographed jersey, Laynee Johnson cheers while seated in a wheelchair. “Let’s go Pan-thers! Let’s go Pan-thers! Let’s go Pan-thers!” shouts Johnson, accompanied by her mother, Angi. Last week she broke her leg while figure skating, but that hasn’t stopped her from cheering on the Panthers at practice and will not stop here from making it to the game on Monday.

“I am excited to go to the game tomorrow, after I get my cast done,” said Johnson.

Carol Koch first became a fan when the Panthers faced the Colorado Avalanche in the 1996 Stanley Cup final. Now, she is a season ticket holder and considers herself a diehard fan, and proudly displays her love for the Cats by pointing to her leg and the Panthers logo tattoo.  Koch says a diehard fan is, “someone who goes to every game, records every game and watches all the road games.”

Not a diehard Panthers fan? Koch has a message for you. “Go to a game, it’s contagious!”

Don’t miss the pre-season opener against the Nashville Predators tomorrow at the BB&T Center. The first game is at 2:30 p.m. followed by the second game at 7 p.m. For more information, visit panthers.nhl.com.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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