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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Flames

The Cats and Flames battle in Sunrise at BB&T Center.

Friday, 04.4.2014 / 12:00 PM ET / Preview
By "Hockey Pat" McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Flames
The Cats and Flames battle in Sunrise at BB&T Center.

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


Panthers Flames
Record 27-42-8 32-38-7
Points 62 71
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

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!

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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