NHL Hits Home Run Scheduling Matinee Return of Jonathan Huberdeau
Today’s matinee matchup between the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames May be one of the more emotional afternoon games in recent history.
The return of Jonathan Huberdeau, who played ten seasons as one of the more marketable stars on the Panthers.
For half of that time, or five seasons, McKenzie Weegar patrolled the Florida blue line. Throwing hits, blocking shots and generally making sacrifices in order for the team to finally take that next step towards being a contender.
And after they finally take that step by winning the President’s Trophy as well as getting past the first round? The latter being something the organization hasn’t accomplished for the last 26 years.
They were traded without much explanation from Panthers General Manager Bill Zito.
Meanwhile, for the Flames, they get to see a familiar face today in a very unfamiliar situation. They’ll be playing against one of the greatest heels to ever step on the ice in Matthew Tkachuk.
Matthew Tkachuk — 2022-23
Games Played: 15
Points: 22 (9th)
Penalties Drawn: 10 (5th)
It’s probably better not to make this entire piece about Tkachuk, but his sentiments about the Flames relayed in a recent Spittin’ Chicklets interview told us a few things.
• He doesn’t like the media pressure in Canadian markets.
• He didn’t like his usage in overtime situations under Darryl Sutter — or complete lack there of.
• He wasn’t particularly fond of his former bench boss. He didn’t elaborate too much, but he gave a “You guys know I can’t talk about that stuff.
You can find a link to that interview in the comments.
You could almost argue that this game might be worth a primetime slot.
Painful reunions aside, Calgary and Florida have work to do. Both are coming off losses where they made a late game push.
The Panthers went down 4-0 to the Stars after one period of play. Tkachuk and former Flame Sam Bennett got them back into it. Bennett finished the night with three assists. Tkachuk, a goal and an assist.
The third former Flame, that being Ryan Lomberg, had four hits in the effort.
The Flames, meanwhile, came out dull against the Lightning. They put all the work in to outshoot the opposition 40-24, but ended the night with a total of only four high danger opportunities. The game featured two turning points in quick succession.
First, Nazem Kadri potted a goal early in the third to make the game 2-1 Lightning.
Ten seconds later at 5:03, former development camp tryout Phillipe Myers floated a muffin past Jacob Markstrom. The Flames starter put much of the blame for the loss on himself.
That seems to be a theme this season. The 6’6” Swede has saved shots at over a .900 rate only five times in thirteen games this season. One has to wonder if he’ll keep playing the majority of games if he can’t keep the team in games.
Last Five AHL Games — Dustin Wolf
Goals Allowed: 7
It’s no certainty that these projected lines are accurate, but the DNA line practiced together this morning among the nine skaters that took to the ice for a pregame skate. This is at least what dailyfaceoff.com projects.
Puck drops around 2:10pm mst. You can catch the game on Sportsnet, NHL Network, or Bally Sports Sun.
Stats via naturalstattrick.com and nhl.com.