#11 Carolina Hurricanesvs.#12 Florida Panthers
Written by Valdis Pans
Carolina Hurricanes (30-27-8-5) vs. Florida Panthers (31-29-5-6)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida
Lines: Carolina +135 / Florida -155
After grabbing points in their seventh straight contest, the Carolina Hurricanes (7th in Metropolitan Division) are continuing their road trip with a game at the Florida Panthers (6th in Atlantic), who start a three-date homestand…
The Carolina Hurricanes (30-27-13) played against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday just 24 hours after beating the Nashville Predators 4-2 at home in Raleigh. And although the hosts outshot them by a double (44-22), the ‘Canes still managed to show some decent hockey, making a two goal deficit into a 3-2 lead through goals from Jeff Skinner (26 markers, 49 points for the year), Elias Lindholm (9 goals, 39 points) and Jordan Staal (15 goals, 41 points). The final moments of the contest, though, didn’t go Carolina’s way, as the Flyers tied the game with 43 seconds left in the regulation and won it 4-3 just 38 seconds into overtime.
Goalie Cam Ward made 40 saves for the Hurricanes, who have now collected points in their past seven outings (4-0-3). He is 23-20-11 for the current campaign with a 2.71 GAA and has gone 15-13-3 against the Florida Panthers in previous meetings with a 2.69 GAA. The ‘Canes are currently 21st in the league with 73 points from 70 outings, trailing a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference by six points. They are scoring the 11th lowest quantity of goals per fixture (2.57), conceding the 11th highest bulk on the defensive end (2.83). Carolina is 22nd in power play with a 17.5% success rate and ranks 5th in penalty kill with solid 84.8% proficiency.
The game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday was the third outing in a matter of 60 hours for the Florida Panthers (31-29-11), and it showed. The visitors were outshot 28-21, failing to convert any of their chances, including five during four power play opportunities. Despite missing seven starting players, the Penguins scored four unanswered goals, including a hat trick from Sidney Crosby. Mark Pysyk (4 goals, 14 points for the season) got the most shots on goal for Florida, while Jaromir Jagr (14 goals, 39 points) played his 1,700th NHL game, joining only Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Ron Francis in doing so.
Goalie James Reimer made 24 saves, taking his season performance total to 14-14-5 with a 2.63 GAA. He has posted a 5-4-2 total against the Carolina Hurricanes with a 2.20 career GAA. The Panthers are sitting 22nd in the league with 73 points from 71 outings, six points out of the playoff contention in the Eastern Conference with an extra game already played. They are 7th in least goals scored on average (2.46), 13th in most goals allowed per fixture (2.79), 25th in power play with a 16.7% turnaround and top of the NHL in penalty kill with an amazing 86.3% effectiveness.
The Hurricanes have failed to beat the Panthers in Florida in their last four attempts and will hardly have a field day here this time, having gone with just two wins in their past eight road fixtures (2-3-3). The Panthers have not been doing too well on their own ice either, winning just two of their last nine home contests (2-7-0). They have been quite consistent against Carolina, though, posting just one defeat versus the ‘Canes in their past eight overall matchups (7-1-0)…
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Valdis got his first ever article published when he was 13, and has rarely stopped. He has worked for FHM, MTV Baltics and has done loads of freelance (from columns for Cosmopolitan magazine to helping with organization of Macy Gray’s shows in the Northern Europe). Speaks five different languages, loves pizza, American Horror Story and pipe organ music, and knows European soccer better than dates of his family members’ birthdays. Is an avid fan of ice-hockey too. He is a Latvian after all...