The Panthers return to Florida tonight and gear up to play the 25-15-3 Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The Cats went 3-2-0 on their recent Canadian-Pacific Northwest swing, where their road game consistency issues were still a bit noticeable.
Calgary: 5-1 (L)
Edmonton: 6-0 (W)
Vancouver: 2-1 (W)
Seattle: 5-3 (L)
Winnipeg: 5-3 (W)
Winning three of five games is obviously not a negative, but they could have come away with five wins if you ask me. I demand excellence and wins every night ! Totally joking (haha).
Sure, some bad breaks here and there, but there were also a number of defensive breakdowns and missed opportunities in those losses. In fact, they could have easily lost to the Canucks had it not been for Knight - who pulled his play together for that game.
A really nice high-level preview of tonight’s matchup from Brian Compton per NHL.com
“The Vegas Golden Knights' road trip against some of the best teams in the NHL continues when they play at the Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, ATTSN-RM, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Vegas (25-15-3) had its seven-game road winning streak end Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime loss at the Carolina Hurricanes, a day after their four-game trip began with a 1-0 win at the Washington Capitals. The trip concludes Saturday at the Tampa Bay Lightning. Florida (29-9-5) enters with the best home record in the NHL (21-3-0) and has outscored opponents 45-15 in its past seven games there, scoring at least four goals in each. The Panthers return home after going 3-2-0 on a five-game road trip.”
VGK is one of my most disliked teams. They kind of remind me of the Yankees of years ago - just scooping up all the big fish. And I’ve always been kind of annoyed with pretending to be the “misfits” of the league, despite being a top team since their debut.
Their up-tempo game doesn’t make me as nervous because the Panthers can play that game (especially at home). It’s the all-around attack they have throughout their lineup that is scary.
Their forwards are always attacking and swarming. It’s one thing to get through their four lines of talent and skill upfront. Then you have to worry about the backend. Their defensemen are just as nasty (in a good way) at generating offense, on top of being being able to defend pretty well.
Just checkout this lineup:
Dadonov - Stephenson - Stone
Amado - Karlsson - Marchessault
Carrier - Roy - Janmark
Howden - Patrick - Kolesar
Hague - Pietrangelo
Theodore - Whitecloud
McNabb - Coghlan
Lehner (17-11-1, 2.85 GAA, .907 SV%)
Brossoit (8-3-2, 2.86 GAA, .897 SV%)
It’s crazy to think that the below guys (even more talent) are out due to injury:
Eichel, Pacioretty, Martinez, Smith
As much as I don’t like the team, I am a big fan of Daddy (of course) and Hague and Theodore. I’m really curious to see Nolan Patrick play. I’ve never watched him closely, but I know there’s talent there despite all the injuries.
The Knights are 7th in most goals scored per game (3.40) and 14th for most goals allowed (2.98), 14th on the PP (20.5%) and 20th on the PK (78.5%).
But our boys have firepower, too. Check out these lines from this morning:
Verhaeghe - Barkov - Mamin
Huberdeau - Bennett - Duclair
Marchment - Lundell - Reinhart
Lomberg - Luostarinen - Tippett
Weegar - Ekblad
Forsling - Gudas
Carlsson - Montour
Knight starting (insert nervous emoji face)
Bruno on the big tilt tonight:
“Just get back to our home ways here a little bit. These are always hard games after a trip, so we really have to bear down and give that effort that we gave last game and feed off our crowd tonight."
Oh yeah…it’s going to be a good one and I’m ready to be doing this:
Back home, boys…Go Panthers!