This time next week, the Florida Panthers are enjoying their All-Star break.
Until then, they have a lot to do.
The Panthers start what might be their most important week of the season tonight in New York when they take on the Rangers.
Florida will play four games over the next six days – all against teams that have a place in the playoffs.
Tonight they play Pittsburgh vs Rangers on Tuesday; The Panthers will return home for a duel against the Kings and Bruins starting Friday night.
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There are eight points available here and the Panthers could use a large majority of them.
The big game, of course, comes on Tuesday, as Florida and the Penguins appear to be the top contenders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
On Sunday, the Penguins lost 2-1 in overtime to the Devils and extended their lead over the Panthers to three points. Pittsburgh has two games in hand against Florida.
Florida has won its last two games and has a five-game points streak (4-0-1). With wins in seven games out of ten (7-2-1), the Panthers are playing with more confidence than they have in months.
“When you go you feel like you can win every night, every night you have a chance to win,” Coach Paul Moritz said. “When you fight, you just don’t see it. These next two will be the most difficult of this whole route. But all you have to do is go out and compete without worrying about tomorrow.”
The Panthers are expected to have AlexLyon back on the net tonight at MSG Spencer Knight played back-to-back games with the AHL Charlotte Checkers.
Knight and the Checkers lost 5-2 to the Cleveland Monsters on Sunday. It is scheduled to start on Tuesday evening.
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Grigory Denisenko hasn’t been able to play much hockey for the past two seasons due to a COVID shutdown and an injury midway through last season.
But he’s with the Panthers now and really seems to be on the right track. Denisenko may only have three points in 10 games, but he comes into play every night.
— With wins in seven of their last 10, it looks like the Panthers have steered things in the right direction.
— Mack Guzda was the reinforcement for Lyon in his unofficial first NHL game on Saturday night. Since he didn’t hit the ice, it doesn’t count as an NHL debut.
Regardless, the 22-year-old has a great history, having played an undrafted, undrafted goalie in junior hockey this time last year. On Saturday he was in the NHL. Not bad.
— The NHL is bringing their popular All-Star FanFest to Fort Lauderdale Beach and it looks like it’s going to be a really cool event. It will also be free.
— Lots of postgame reactions from Sunrise last night on the FHN YouTube channel, including comments from Maurice, Lyon, Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart.
Click HERE to see everything in one place, and if you hit subscribe (it’s free) you’ll know when new content comes out, like today’s pre-game comments as well as post-game reactions after the tonight.
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It was the Pittsburgh Penguins so close to pick up an overtime win against the Devils on Sunday, but their game-winning goal was waved off – and they ended up losing 2-1.
– The Los Angeles Kings beat the Blackhawks on Sunday to get things back on the right track.
— TJ Oshie has strong words for his Washington Capitals teammates after a loss in Vegas.
— Kevin Hayes scored a few more goals but it wasn’t enough as the Philadelphia Flyers lost to Winnipeg.
— The Boston Bruins were strong all game in a 4-0 win over the Sharks.
— What the Detroit Red Wings can learn from other big successful conversions.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT NEW YORK RANGERS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m
- Where from: Madison Square Garden, New York
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Key); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: Sirius XM 932
- Last season: The Rangers won 2-1
- This season (Rangers lead 1-0): Rangers 5, Panthers 3 (January 1)
- All-time regular season series: Rangers lead 58-32-8, 6 ties
- Next for the Panthers: Tuesday with the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m