Tuesday vs. Detroit Red Wings
Florida will begin a quick two-game homestand with their second match this season against the Detroit Red Wings. The clubs met three day ago, with the Cats claiming a solid 2-1 road victory on Jonathan Huberdeau's third period game-winner. The Red Wings (15-9-7) will visit Tampa Bay on Thursday to complete their brief tour of the Sunshine State.
Henrik Zetterberg tops the Detroit offense with 30 points but isn't expected to play, while leading goal-scorer Pavel Datsyuk may be back in the lineup for this one. Jimmy Howard has played better than his 6-8-6 record would suggest, while backup Jonas Gustavsson has an 8-1-1 record and posted a misery 2.03 GAA, so The Monster could get another crack at the Panthers.
Friday vs. Washington Capitals
The Capitals (16-12-2) will be taking to the road for a one-off against the Panthers when they hit the BB&T Center on Friday. The two teams faced off in D.C. back on November 2nd, with the Caps claiming a tight 3-2 shootout win, so Florida will be looking to exact some revenge on the red, white and blue.
The Washington offense is led by sniper-extraordinaire Alexander Ovechkin who has notched a league-leading 22 goals to goal along with 9 assists. Niklas Backstrom and Mikhail Grabovski have already eclipsed the 20-point mark this season. The Cats will be facing Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer in goal. Holtby has posted 13 of Washington's 16 wins.
Sunday at Montreal Canadiens
The Panthers will finish off the week against Montreal (19-9-3) on Sunday in the first of a four-game trip through chilly Canada. Les Habitants will be starting a two-game homestand that sees the Phoenix Coyotes come to town after the Cats depart for Toronto. This will be the first meeting between the new Atlantic Division rivals this season.
High-scoring defender P.K. Subban paces the Canadiens potent offense with 24 points, while Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty have each bagged 11 goals. Chances are the Cats will see veteran Carey Price in net. Price is currently sporting a stellar 1.95 GAA and has 14 wins.
So how do you see the Panthers making out this week? The Cats have three tough opponents on the slate. Last week just 14% of voters got it right.