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Florida Rolling, Cats vs Canes

April 6, 2021, 10:29 AM ET [20 Comments]
Matt Ross
Florida Panthers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
After winning their sixth in a row, the Florida Panthers set sail on a six-game road trip with their first stop in Raleigh, NC, where they take on the talented Carolina Hurricanes.

The Cats have 56 points through 39 games and will have a big test tonight. Not only does it seem like the Canes always play Florida well, but they just got their wall back: Petr Mrazek.

After missing 31 games due to injury, Mrazek came back and recorded his third shutout in five starts this season with a 1-0 win over the Stars on Sunday. He’s tied for third in the NHL for shutouts and the three he holds are more than 16 others team’s totals. The guy is rocking a 0.74 GAA and a .968 save percentage on top of those shutouts. So the Panthers would do good to get pucks and bodies to the net tonight - he’s probably seeing the puck like a beach ball, so disrupt this guy’s concentration and let him know it’s not going to be an easy night.

Carolina has been nasty at home this season, boasting a 12-2-3 record. I saw they’re 8-3 overall in OT and 4-1 in the shootout, versus the Panthers 7-4 in Ot and 1-2 in the shootout.

The numbers nerds have the Panthers losing this game, but you know what..? Take a look at the standings. The Cats hold the #1 spot (in a very tight) Central. Sure, the Hurricanes are right there with a 25-9-3 record to second-place Tampa at 26-10-2 and top dogs (err...cats) Florida with 26-9-4, but the Panthers have been playing a brand of hockey we’re not used to seeing - and one that’s getting people to take them seriously.

In recent weeks, Florida has battled through injury adversity after losing Barky and Hornqvist for a spell, with the big blow coming after Ekblad was lost for the season with a leg fracture. Guys have stepped up and the “gelling” continues as this team has gotten stronger over the course of this strange season.

And while they might not have as low of a GAA as Mrazek, Florida’s goaltending has been fantastic and a major reason for their success. In his last start, Driedger rewarded the defense’s good play by making the stops required of him, helping the Cats to a 3-0 win over the struggling Jackets. That goose egg Driedger posted served as his second shutout this season. He just keeps building a case for teams to want to trade for him...

Lastly, I would love to see the Cats shut down Trocheck tonight. He seems to always play well against Florida - probably fueled by revenge - but I’m tired of seeing him have success against his old team. He has a goal in each of the four times these two teams have met. An interesting stat is that he’s the only player in Canes’ franchise history to score in his first four games against his former team after being traded - a stat the league has been tracking since the 1991-92 season. Trocheck is also on a hot streak with at least a point in his last 10 games (5G, 8A), so I would love for the Panthers to play spoiler tonight and stop that streak.



Marchment Resigned

A fair, low-cost deal for a guy that I think has played really well.



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Doesn’t get much better than a couple of the top teams going at it....Let’s keep this thing moving. Go Panthers!
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