SUNRISE–Panthers host struggling LA Kings tonight
The Los Angeles Kings have dropped back to back games by a 5-0 count and the Florida Panthers would like to make it a hat trick of misery for the visitors Thursday night when the two teams tangle at BB&T Center.
Since Friday’s win over Anaheim the Panthers have been on a CBA-mandated hiatus while other teams have continued to play on. The good news is the games in hand deficit has been reduced at the expense of the Panthers falling further behind in the standings. At press time Montreal was far head of the Panthers in the Atlantic Division with 68 points, while Ottawa, 60 points in 51 games and Toronto, 60 points in 52 games.
The wild card race shows only the second slot in reach, which is held by Philadelphia of the Metro Division with 59 points. The Panthers have 56 points. Boston, with three more games played has 58 points. The Panthers have 56 points, but the rest of the Eastern Conference is within striking distance of Florida with no team having less than 54 points.
Teams make trades at the deadline for that extra edge. A sooner than expected return of top-line forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathon Huberdeau finally gives Jaromir Jagr the forwards he produces with and the trio look dominant in their first game together this season in the Panthers 2-1 victory Feb. 3 over Anaheim. Their return to form means defensive responsibilities of the oppenents will have to be divided among three scoring lines rather than one, a huge advantage for Florida.
Jagr has nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points through 52 games. If the lines stay intact, it is non inconceivable that he could finish with close to 60 points. Last season he finished with 32 points in his final 32 games to lead the team with 66 points.
So, here is where Jagr stands career wise heading into tonight’s season resuming game with Los Angeles.
Tickerts for all Panthers home games can be secured safely through panthers.nhl.com.
Panthers top Ducks before break
The return of Jonathon Huberdeau, a month earlier than expected, was punctuated with a goal that proved to be the game winner. Highlights and more from that game from nhl.com at the link below.