The Florida Panthers are scheduled for an 11 a.m. practice this morning at Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs before they shuffle off to Buffalo to face the Sabres on Friday night at KeyBank Center to open a three-game road trip.
Buffalo is off to a 3-0-1 start after last night’s 5-4 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens. The Sabres are currently in first place in the Atlantic Division. Jack Eichel has amassed three goals and four assists and second-year defenseman Rasmus Dahlin also has seven points, including a team-best six assists. There is a good chance the Cats will see Carter Hutton as the opposing netminder to whomever the Panthers, who will play a back-to-back, decide to start in the first game of the set.
After playing in Buffalo, the Panthers will remain in the Empire State for a Saturday night tilt against the New York Islanders. Like Florida, the Isles will be playing on back-to-back nights as they have a road game in Carolina on Friday. Also, like the Panthers, the Islanders are off to a 1-2 start. Anthony Beauvillier is the club’s leading scorer with two goals and two assists. I would guess the Cats will face Thomas Greiss with Semyon Varlamov the more likely starter in Raleigh. This is probably the game where we will see backup Sam Montembeault make his first start of the season.
The Panthers will conclude the road trip on Monday night in Newark against the struggling New Jersey Devils. After a huge offseason, the Devils are off to an 0-2-1 start and have surrendered 16 goals in those three games. Blake Coleman is currently New Jersey’s leading scorer with three points and is the only Devil with two goals. John Hynes’ team will play the Edmonton Oilers tonight and the Boston Bruins on Saturday.