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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Coyotes

The Cats and Coyotes battle in Phoenix at Jobing.com Arena.

Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 10:30 AM ET / Preview
By "Hockey Pat" McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Coyotes
The Cats and Coyotes battle in Phoenix at Jobing.com Arena.

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. Phoenix Coyotes

Panthers Coyotes
Record 26-35-8 33-25-11
Points 60 77
Place 7th in Atlantic 4th in Pacific

The Florida Panthers’ Western odyssey continues tonight as the Cats take to the Glendale desert to face the Phoenix Coyotes. The ‘Yotes currently occupy the last wild card spot in the Western Conference with 77 points but they have the Stars, Canucks and Jets all nipping at their tails.

The Cats are coming off an impressive 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks highlighted by a signature performance by Roberto Luongo, who made 52 saves in the victory.

It should be a good one tonight, let’s get to the Lowdown.

RED Hot Cats To Watch

Brandon Pirri: Scorching hot since he was acquired from the Blackhawks earlier this month, Pirri is coming off back-to-back multi-point performances. He was the driving force behind the Panthers’ two goals in 17 seconds outburst against the Sharks on Tuesday and he now has seven points (3-4-7) in his last five games.

Scottie Upshall: The Panthers’ scoring leader fired home the game winner on Tuesday, connecting on a one-timer late in the second period. He now has three goals in his last four games, bringing his season point total to 34 (14-20-34).

Coyotes Players to Watch

#11 Martin Hanzal

The Coyotes’ alternate captain returned to their lineup in Monday’s 4-3 win over the LA Kings. Hanzal recorded an assist in the game, his first since missing seven games with a lower body injury. In case you missed it, this is more or less how his return went:

#14 Jeff Halpern

When I did my 'Coyotes Players to Watch’ before the game on March 11, I selected defensemen Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. What happened? The duo made heavy contributions on two of the Coyotes’ three goals.

This time I am playing it safe and trying to avoid motivating someone, so I’ll go with Jeff Halpern as the guy to watch. The 37-year-old center has ten points (4-6-10) in 56 games this season, but keep an eye on him….could be a big game.

Desert Dogs

Dingo, Coyote…close enough. I just wanted to throw in this classic Seinfeld clip.

Apparently the Coyotes play at jobing.com arena….not gobing.com like I originally thought….

It would be a lot cooler if it was gobing.com….

You Again?

The Panthers and Coyotes will face off tonight for the second time in the last ten days. Before their matchup last week, the Cats had not played the ‘Yotes for over two years. That’s an awful lot of time together after a long time apart. Kind of like the crazy uncle you had not seen for five years until he pops up one day and says he is moving in with you.

Anyway, the last time these two teams met the Coyotes came away with a 3-1 victory in Sunrise. Pirri scored the only goal for the Cats while Luongo stopped 20 of the 23 shots he saw.

Hockey 101

Word of the Day: Sauce

Definition: Sauce is slang for saucer pass. A saucer pass involves the passer elevating the puck a few inches off the ice so as to avoid pesky opponents’ sticks occupying passing lanes. The saucer pass gets its name because the elevated puck flying through the air has a distinct resemblance to a flying saucer.

Hockey players like to say sauce instead of saucer pass because sauce sounds cooler and being a hockey player is 57% talent and 43% acting cool.

Example: “Whooaaahh man did you see the sauce Pirri put on that pass to Trocheck last night?”

Sauce in Action:

Enjoy the game tonight. Go Panthers!




1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48


J. Huberdeau 72 13 34 8 47
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 74 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 70 13 26 -3 39
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 74 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 65 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 64 14 17 -2 31
B. Campbell 75 3 21 2 24
B. Pirri 42 20 2 5 22
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
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