GameDay Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum
Cats are 3-1 over past four in Philly.
So here we are facing a club for the second time in a still-young season for the first time (yes, it makes sense in a roundabout fashion).
Though the Flyers (5-5-2, 12P; 3-2 in last 5) fell to Florida in a 2-1 regulation loss Saturday night in Sunrise - which featured not only rookie blueliner Aaron Ekblad's first pro goal but proved to be the game-winner as well - Philly followed up the loss with a decisive 4-1 home victory over Edmonton Tuesday. Forward Jakub Voracek notched 2 goals on three shots, shaky netminder Steve Mason (35 saves) grabbed his first win of 2014-15 & Claude Giroux (1 assist) nailed 20 of 26 faceoffs en route to the winner's circle. Once more, against the Taylor Hall-less Oilers.
Y'all know the deal on the local front: Florida is rolling a seven-game point streak, yet to drop a match in regulation on the road.
Who's hot? For a team that isn't netting more than a goal or two per game we enter another dimension, since neither traditional nor advanced stats apply here in simple terms. When defenseman Colby Robak winds up on the fourth forward line's wing for 2 games - and he was admittedly pretty darned solid in that limited role - all bets are off. That said, the Cats not only survived but thrived, picking up points in both.
Back to the question: who's hot? Roberto Luongo, to no one's surprise. 2-0-1 in his past three games, the veteran has surrendered 4 goals over that span - with one coming in the final 8 seconds, during a 6-on-5 situation, of the most recent Philly game. Shutout spoiled, but man if he wasn't in the zone. The Flyers also pulled Mason with like 18 minutes remaining in the third, so there's that.
Presumptive Aleksander Barkov tutor Jussi Jokinen scored his first of the season in Boston Tuesday, which gives him 1 goal and 6 points in his past five games. That's hot by South Florida standards. Barkov is slated to return tonight after missing the last two contests.
Whatever the eventual outcome, do check in with our buds at Broad Street Hockey for the opposition's take heading into this one. LBC's GameThread goes live right here around 6:30, so join us for real-time discussion as the evening's main event plays out.