Bunch of our pals from Minnesota are in town, coming down last night after busting up the Thrashers 4-2 at a nearly empty Philips Arena. The Panthers haven't been very good against the Wild of late, Florida's only win in the eight game series coming when the Wild were in its freshman season.
The Panthers need to change that, pronto.
Thursday's game is big for the Panthers, even though it is only No. 3 of an 82 game slate. See, the Panthers are 1-1 this season, have had four days off and are pretty healthy. Save for Bryan McCabe, everyone skated today and are available for the game. You have to figure the Panthers get two against the AHL Islanders on Saturday, so Thursday's game is big in the idea that this team can hit the road with six points out of an available eight. That's not bad.
Look at the Panthers' upcoming sked: after the Isle, Florida visits Montreal and Ottawa, flies home to take on the red-hot Sharks, then jumps back on a plane to take on a very scrappy Blues team. Eight of the next 10 games (after Saturday) are on the road.
The Panthers need to start getting some points. This next stretch is going to be one heck of a challenge.
-- Nothing much going on at practice today, although it looks like Gregory Campbell and Bryan Allen will be back in the lineup Thursday. Not so sure about Skrastins, although Pete DeBoer says he would like to play him if he's game-ready. Will know more after tomorrow's skate.
-- Also, here's what's going on with FSN:
Thurs., 10/16 at 7:30pm Panthers vs. Wild LIVE on FSN Florida (Available in HD)
Sat., 10/18 at 7pm Panthers vs. Islanders LIVE on FSN Florida
Special weekly in-game enhancements:
On Saturday night Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard will wear a microphone offering fans watching from home live comments and reaction during actual game play.
Saturday is also Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night at the BankAtlantic Center. During FSN Florida’s telecast Denis Potvin and Steve Goldstein will wear custom HFC ties. After the game they will be autographed and auctioned off with proceeds going towards the Panthers Community Foundation.
During Panthers LIVE, FSN Florida’s pregame show, reporter, Frank Forte will offer a special feature on the NHL’s league-wide initiative which provides research and funds to help fight cancer.