Florida Panthers (30-23-14) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-33-8)
|Date & Time||Saturday March 14, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Carolina Hurricanes / Florida Panthers --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
It’s getting late early for the Florida Panthers, but the club looks like it’s going to keep battling until the very end. Florida trails the Boston Bruins by six points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and it looks like the Bruins are starting to kick things into gear. Florida isn’t likely to make it in at this point but they’ve really taken a large step as an organization and the youth they have is loaded with talent. Thursday night the Panthers hosted the Winnipeg Jets, another club fighting for their playoff lives. Derek MacKenzie opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season to give Florida a 1-0 lead after one period of play. Winnipeg evened the score in the second period but Brad Boyes regained the lead for the Panthers with a power play goal late in the frame. The Jets would once again even things up early in the third but Aleksander Barkov would score the eventual game winner with just under four minutes to play. Nick Bjugstad added his 24th goal of the season into an empty net to secure the 4-2 win. Now the Panthers have another chance to take advantage of a team beneath them in the standings when the Carolina Hurricanes come to town. Florida needs to secure these two points because they’ll be in New York to play the Rangers on Sunday, then have games coming up with Montreal, Detroit, Boston, and Tampa Bay. If nothing else the Panthers have shown that they’re going to go down fighting and they’ve also shown us that there is a lot to look forward to in Florida because there’s plenty of young talent.
The Carolina Hurricanes have had a dismal season but they’ve been playing much better hockey lately than they were earlier in the season. Carolina is 5-4-1 over their last 10 games, and that’s after losing four of their last five overall. The biggest problem for the Hurricanes is preventing goals, and that has been their downfall of late. Thursday night they hosted the Dallas Stars and watched a quick 1-0 lead fall threw the cracks in the blink of an eye. Victor Rask gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead with his 10th goal of the year, but Dallas answered with three goals of their own before the end of the first period to take a two goal lead. Dallas was up 4-1 in the third period before the Hurricanes got back in the game on goals by Andrej Nestrasil and Chris Terry, but it wasn’t enough as they fell by a final of 5-3. The Hurricanes were out shot 32-18 in this game and heading into a match against a Panthers club that will be desperate it’s hard to see their defense doing too much to stop them. Florida isn’t the best team in the league but they really need this game and the Hurricanes are just such a Jekyll and Hyde type of club right now.
This one should be one of those games that goes up and down the ice and if the goaltenders aren't ready there might be a few goals. Florida needs this game badly with where they're at in the standings and the schedule they have coming up, but the Hurricanes can be a thorn in their side.