The Panthers visit the Blues tonight at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis for the first of two contests this season (they play in Sunrise on November 1st). Florida is in the second game of a four game, season opening road trip. They started it out with a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday, and continue with the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday before finishing it up with a intrastate tilt in Tampa Bay with the Lightning on Thursday. St. Louis opens the season on a five game homestand. They took down the Nashville Predators, 4-2 on Thursday and go on to host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, the New York Rangers on Saturday, and the San Jose Sharks next Tuesday.
A Look Back
The 9-5-3 Panthers were visiting the 9-7-1 Blues on November 17th, 2011 in the last meeting of these two. David Backes scored twice, Chris Porter and Kris Russell added a goal apiece, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 20-of-21 shots in a 4-1 St. Louis victory. Mike Santorelli scored Florida's only goal, unassisted, and Jose Theodore allowed three goals on 30 shots in the loss. According to NHL.COM:
Ken Hitchcock improved to 4-0-1, the best start of any coach in franchise history, as the Blues downed the Florida Panthers 4-1 Thursday night at Scottrade Center.
They won despite losing veteran center Scott Nichol late in the first period, when he was given a five-minute major for spearing and a game misconduct. On the same play, defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo suffered a lower-body injury after seemingly getting caught in a rut on the ice. He did not return. Full Recap * Box Score
Florida sat down the Stars in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night, 4-2. Marcel Goc scored twice, including an empty netter, Scott Gomez tallied one from the fourth line, and Aleksander Barkov became the youngest player to tally a goal in almost 70 years. Brian Campbell pitched in with two assists, and new addition Tim Thomas stopped 25-of-27 shots on net. Full Recap * Box Score
Predators 2 @ Blues 4 10/03/13 (via NHL)
GameTime: 8:00 PM ET, FS-FLA, FS-SW, WQAM
All-Time Record: Florida is 7-14-3-1, earning 36% of possible points in matchups with the Blues.
Season Series: First meeting
Florida Panthers, 1-0-0, 1.000, 2 points, on pace for 164 points (!). Tied for third in the Atlantic Division, tied for third in the Eastern Conference, tied for sixth in the NHL.
St. Louis Blues, 1-0-0, 1.000, 2 points, on pace for 164 points. Somethings gotta give! Tied for third in the Central Division, tied for fourth in the Western Conference, tied for sixth in the NHL.
New Panthers defenseman Ryan Whitney was recently cut from the Blues training camp roster.
Brad Boyes played 327 games for the Blues over parts of five seasons (105 goals, 126 assists, minus-7 rating). Mike Weaver played 135 games over two seasons with the Blues, scoring one goal with 16 assists and a plus-7 rating.
The Blues currently employ former Cats defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who played 471 games for the Panthers over six seasons (53 goals, 150 assists, minus-27 rating).
Tomas Kopecky and Kris Versteeg each have 25 career Panthers goals, tied for 47th. A 26th goal for either will break a tie with Mike Van Ryn. Shawn Matthias and Tomas Fleischmann have 39 goals apiece, tied for 29th all time, a goal for either will move them into a tie for 28th with Juraj Kolnik.
Shawn Matthias, with 42 assists, is tied with Gary Roberts for 49th all-time. Tomas Fleischmann tallied an assist on Thursday, giving him 58 with the Panthers. He is currently tied with Paul Laus for 33rd. Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will be his 65th, moving him into a tie for 29th with Ed Jovanovski. Brian Campbell currently has 70 assists, and is now tied for 22nd with Cory Stillman.
Jesse Winchester turned 30 yesterday, and Scottie Upshall turns 30 on Monday. Hall of Famers Patrick Roy and Mario Lemiuex each turn 48 today.
Probable Starting Lineups
- Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Kris Versteeg
- Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes
- Scottie Upshall - Scott Gomez - Tomas Kopecky
- Jesse Winchester - Shawn Matthias - Krys Barch
St. Louis Blues
- Alex Steen - David Backes - TJ Oshie
- Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Vladimir Tarasenko
- Brenden Morrow - Derek Roy - Chris Stewart
- Vladimir Sobotka - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves
- Jaroslav Halak - Brian Elliott
For a closer look at the Blues, check out St. Louis Game Time. And keep us bookmarked for the live gamethread, opening around 7:00 for an 8:00 showtime.