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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Hurricanes

The Cats host the Wings in their final home game before the Olympic break.

Friday, 02.7.2014 / 12:00 PM ET / Preview
By "Hockey Pat" McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Hurricanes

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. Carolina Hurricanes

The Basics


Panthers Hurricanes
Record 22-28-7 25-21-9
Points 51 59
Place 7th in Atlantic 6th in Metropolitan
Season Series 0-1-0 1-0-0

The Panthers play their last game before the Olympic break tonight on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes. This will be the second of three games between the former Southeast Division rivals so it will be kind of like having a terse lunch with an ex-girlfriend except not really because lunches with your ex don’t involve cursing and fistfights…well most of the time they don’t.

Here’s the Lowdown:

Carolina Players to Watch:

#12 Eric Staal: The Hurricanes’ captain Staal-ed (bad-pun alert) out early this season and was one of the most notable Olympic snubs as he was left off Team Canada’s roster. He eventually righted the ship and through 52 games, the Carolina Staal-wert (okay I’ll stop now) has 44 points (14-30-44) and is on pace to lead the Hurricanes in scoring for the fifth straight season.

#53 Jeff Skinner: In his fourth season at only age 21, Skinner is leading Carolina in goals with 23 and is second on the club in points with 38.

#28 Alexander Semin: Many have wondered why the Russian’s immense talents have not always translated to the score sheet. In his second season with the Canes, Semin has 28 points (13-15-28) in 43 games. Initially left off Team Russia’s Olympic roster, Semin was added to the team after Dynamo Moscow forward Sergei Soin went down with an injury.

Your Florida Panthers “Young Gun” Lead Pipe Lock of the Night

The Pick: My streak (okay it was only one game but whatever) came to an abrupt end last night but that’s alright. I am feeling confident with tonight’s pick, Nick Bjugstad.

Why: This one is simple. Nick Bjugstad wears the #27 sweater which also happens to the number of Panther legend (and my favorite player growing up) Scott Mellanby. Today is February 7th or 2/7… yeah….this cannot miss.

Jersey Lineage:

(No not this Jersey)

Speaking of #27 let’s play a little game of jersey lineage looking back through history at the players to wear the digits:

Scott Mellanby (1993-2001):

Panther stats: 552 GP, 157 G, 197 A, 354 Pts.

Franchise records: 2nd in goals, 4th in assists, 1st in our hearts

Jaroslav Bednar (2002-2004):

Panther stats: 65 GP, 6 G, 14 A, 20 Pts.

Christian Berglund (2004):

Panther stats: 10 GP, 3 G, 1 A, 4 Pts.

Noah Welch (2007-09)

Panther stats: 29 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 Pts.

Michal Repik (2008-12):

Panther stats: 72 GP, 9 G, 11 A, 20 Pts.

Nick Bjugstad (2013-present)

Panther stats: 61 GP, 13 G, 10 A, 23 Pts.

What we learned: Well I guess the post Mellanby history of #27 has not been as decorated as I would have thought. However, that looks like it is changing as Nick Bjugstad has already managed to become the 2nd most productive player to wear the digits and he is only just getting started.

Checking in on the Panthers scoring race:

With just 25 games left on the schedule, the Panthers scoring race is heating up. Currently Brad Boyes and Scottie Upshall pace the team with 26 points each but their lead is slimmer than Nebraska’s Best Picture odds. With seven Panthers five or fewer points off the pace, the fight for the top spot should be a fun one to watch.

Vintage NHL:

With some due respect for the Canes, the Hartford Whalers had the best logo in the NHL.

The day I noticed the H in the white space between the W and the whale tail was almost as monumental as the day I first saw the arrow between the E and the X on the FedEx Logo.

Alexander Semin after he was chosen as an injury replacement for Team Russia:

Eric Staal after finding out he did not make Team Canada:

…And again after Martin St. Louis was picked over him to replace Stamkos

Pre-game Tweet of the Day:

Okay fine, this is from a couple days ago but come on… I mean, how fresh are these jerseys! While twenty days without Panther hockey is going to suck, I won’t lie, I am pretty pumped up for Sochi baby! Anyway, tonight is the last game before the break so let’s enjoy it while we can and go out with a win!

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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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