Saturday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers GameDay Open Forum

Caps and Cats set to close out 15 years of divisional "brotherhood".

A few notes before the Panthers host Washington this evening in the final Southeast Division meeting between the two clubs (Caps lead 3-0 in 2013)...

  • As everyone is now very much aware, forward Nick Bjugstad will make his NHL debut tonight. Most are also aware that this will be the first time we'll see all three of Florida's opening-rounders from 2010 (along with Erik Gudbranson and Quinton Howden) on the same sheet of Big League ice. Say what you will about this season, but that's a very cool bit of trivia, and a moment many probably didn't anticipate seeing this year. I certainly did not; figured a bargain-bin band-aid-and-bailing-wire approach would be utilized while the "kids" marinated on AHL rinks for at least the remainder of the season. If management deems them fit, they must be fit. The future is now, and all that syrupy stuff. So yeah, I for one am stoked for this game.
  • Somewhat lost in the scramble is the return of forward Jack Skille. In past years this wouldn't raise a single eyebrow but when healthy the guy has provided a remarkable injection of energy and fearlessly strong play along the boards - the latter a trait the Cats generally aren't known for. As well, he collected six points (1G) in his last 9 games before finally succumbing to injury, which his particular style of play unfortunately lends itself to rather easily. Any case, it's confidence, not bravado, that has the 7th overall pick from '05 looking his NHL best.
  • From the AT&T Center, San Antonio dropped a 4-2 decision to visiting Hamilton Friday night. Brian Foster stopped 33 Bulldogs shots while Greg Rallo (1G/1A) and Colby Robak scored for the Rampage. Jon Rheault recorded 2 assists and D Alex Petrovic finished the evening in fine form with 4 SOG and a plus-1. San Antonio hosts Texas Sunday.
  • As for tonight's opponent, the Capitals have wins in their last two outings: 5-3 and 2-1 over Carolina and the Isles respectively, bringing their record to 6-1-1 in the last eight games, good for a collective 18-17-2 on the year. Almost pointless in bringing up Florida's lousy performances vs Washington in recent matches, but history is not to be ignored so those six-straight losses (only a single game made it past regulation) continue to hang over the Cats. A bit of a different look to the Panthers this time around however...

Check in with the good folks at Japers' Rink for all of your Capital needs. The LBC Live GameThread settles in around 7ish.

Obligatory "NHL Debut Poll": Bjugstad nets how many goals in his first game? (Poll closes at 7:35)