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Thursday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

After playing nine of its last 11 games on the road, the Florida Panthers will kick off a five-game homestand starting with a tough back-to-back against the Los Angeles Kings and the Boston Bruins.

The Kings (27-17-6) enter Friday night’s game halfway through a six-game road trip. After dropping the first game of the trek east to Nashville, they have posted one-goal wins over lowly Chicago and Philadelphia. Los Angeles is a dog fight to finish top-three in the Pacific Division and guarantee themselves a second straight postseason appearance. The Panthers will be looking to avenge a 5-4 loss to the Kings in the first meeting between the teams on November 5.

Thanks to Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over Montreal at Bell Centre, the astounding Bruins (38-5-4) became the fastest team in NHL history to reach 80 points in the standings, and they needed just 47 games to do it. Like the Kings, Boston finds itself in the midst of a road trip that will see them take on Tampa Bay tonight before facing the Cats on Saturday. The teams have already twice with each winning on home ice. The Panthers are one of the five teams who have managed to beat the Bruins in regulation this season.


The Charlotte Checkers blanked the Utica Comets by a 4-0 count last night at Adirondack Bank Center. After spending some time up with the Panthers, rookie Mack Guzda returned to make 19 saves for his first professional shutout. Connor Bunnaman (7 – GWG), Justin Sourdif (5), Riley Nash (16 – PPG) and Gerry Mayhew (9) scored the goals. Logan Hutsko (9, 10) and Lucas Carlsson (13, 14) each had two assists while Mayhew (9), Anton Levtchi (9) and  Zac Dalpe (7) had one. The Checkers (21-15-2-2) are currently in third place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.