Say what you will about Florida's epic defensive struggles in 2013 (and there is much to be said), but in between flickering flashes of goodness here and there along the blueline, Dmitry Kulikov is quietly having himself a respectable campaign considering the relative mess around him.
The Panthers' only defenseman with a positive plus/minus rating (+1), Kuli hasn't recorded a point over the past three games but his four assists on the year rank dead-even with Brian Campbell & Mike Weaver, a team-leading 40 hits, 22 blocks and 21 shots on goal (better than all blueliners save for Campbell) show he's been more than a little involved thus far. No goals yet, but on a club with only a single dman having hit the correct end of a net - yep, Soupy (4) - that's not saying a whole lot, but man he's been scary close.
Likes himself some Flyers, too: 7 points (2G) in 10 career games against Philadelphia is his best mark against any non-Southeast opponent (8P vs Winnipeg/Atlanta, 7P vs Tampa Bay in 16 and 15 appearances, respectively). In fact, Florida's last victory came on February 7 in - you guessed it - Philly, which witnessed Kulikov collect dual assists. Further, the Cats have not lost in regulation during 2013 when he appears on the scoresheet (small sample size but we'll take it).
So the Panthers open a two-game Pennsylvania trip tonight; check out Broad Street Hockey for a look at the Flyers' (8-9-1) end of the ice following an enormous victory over Pittsburgh Wednesday. The LBC Live Game Thread pushes off at 6:30 ET.