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Cats & Coffee: Panthers Searching for a Spark

Good morning and welcome to “Cats & Coffee,” a weekly segment, presented by Koffee Kult, in which we serve up an exciting look at what’s on deck for your Florida Panthers. Like our friends at Koffee Kult, this forecast serves up only the best — so sit back, sip and enjoy our latest brew of news, notes and information!

The Florida Panthers enter this week in search of a spark.

Following a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, the Panthers find themselves in the midst of a season-long six-game losing streak, one that includes a 1-3-0 stretch through the first four stops of their current five-game road trip. Of those six losses, four have come by one goal.

“It’s going to take a little more desperation,” Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo said when asked what it will take to get back in the win column. “It starts with me on out. We’ve got to be on top of our game every night. That’s how you break out of something like that.”

With the belief that one win could potentially snowball into the streak they need to claw back into the thick of the playoff picture, the Panthers will have to overcome three teams currently holding down playoff spots this week in tough matchups against Montreal, Toronto and Nashville.

For although they’re mired in a losing streak, the team believes its time for the scales to tip.

“We haven’t gotten in the win column as of late,” said Panthers winger Frank Vatrano, who’s notched three goals in his last six games. “One little mistake can’t predict the rest of our game. I think we did some good things in that third. We’ve got to build off that. We’ve got to keep moving forward. We’ve got to get more and more wins. This is a big second half for us.”

Here’s everything you need to know for the week ahead…

THE GAMES

Tuesday: at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m.

The Panthers will look to end their five-game road trip on a positive note when they visit the Canadiens (24-17-5) at Bell Centre on Tuesday. Montreal enters the week with losses in three out of its last five games, but still holds an 11-point lead over Florida for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two more games played. In that five-game span, the Canadiens have scored one-or-fewer goals three times, knocking their offense down to 15th in the NHL at 2.96 goals per game. Max Domi leads Montreal in points (39), while Brendan Gallagher paces the club in goals (17) and shots on goal (163). For the Panthers, look for Henrik Borgstrom to find his way onto the scoresheet in this game, as the 21-year-old rookie has looked electric at times during the team’s current trek, registering a goal and an assist over the last three games.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

Friday: Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:00 p.m.

After a long road trip, the Panthers will return home for a one-game homestand against the Maple Leafs (28-14-2) at BB&T Center on Friday. Toronto currently sits in second place in the Atlantic Division, but enters the week with losses in four of its last six games. Boasting the third- ranked offense in the NHL, the Leafs are led in points by Mitch Marner (58) and in goals by John Tavares (29). Morgan Reilly, meanwhile, ranks third among all NHL defensemen in scoring with 46 points. As for the Panthers, who have gone 1-1-0 against Toronto this season, look for Mike Hoffman to light the lamp in this matchup, as the 29-year-old winger leads the team in both goals (21), power-play goals (10) and shots on goal (142) this season.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

In-Arena Activations: Military Appreciation Night, Flashback Friday, Slap Bracelet Giveaway (1st 10,000 fans)

Tickets: HERE

Saturday: at Nashville Predators, 8:00 p.m.

The precursor to a five-game homestand, the Panthers will hit the road for a single matchup against the Predators (27-16-4) at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. Nashville, which currently sits in second place in the Central Division, has won five of its last eight games, but enters the week on the heels of back-to-back losses to Columbus and Carolina. Led by a pair of All-Stars in defenseman Roman Josi and goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Predators boast the top defense in the NHL, surrendering an average of 2.57 goals per game. For the Panthers, look for captain Aleksander Barkov to break through Nashville’s defensive barrier in this one, as the 23-year-old center ranks third on the team in goals (17) and second in points (44) including 16 (six goals, 10 assists) over his last 14 games.

TV: FSF

Radio: TBD (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

MILESTONE WATCH

Keith Yandle is nine goals away from his 100th NHL goal.

– Aleksander Barkov is seven points away from his 300th NHL point.

Aaron Ekblad is nine assists away from his 100th NHL assist.

MILITARY APPRECIATION NIGHT

The Panthers will host their annual Military Appreciation Night during their matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at BB&T Center on Friday, a special evening that honors those who have served with any military branch or government agency in the past or present.

In addition to the first 10,000 fans receiving camouflage snap bracelets as a Flashback Friday giveaway, players will also don military-themed jerseys during warmups that will be auctioned with all proceeds benefiting the Florida Panthers Foundation. Bid NOW online HERE or at BB&T Center on Friday to take one these unique collectable jerseys.

A year-round endeavor, supporting veterans’ issues is one of the four pillars of the Foundation.

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: We’ll be wearing these limited edition military jerseys during warm-ups on 1/18! Bid now for your chance to take one home �� https://t.co/ewtOnlXrvW pic.twitter.com/ZUVmH3Gpry

If you are active or retired military or have .gov email address, click HERE to receive discount ticket offers for select games throughout the 2018-19 season.

VALUE PACK

Whether it’s a family outing or a night out with your best friends, the Sahlen’s Value Pack is a great way to make sure that you don’t miss any of the ice-cold action at BB&T Center this year.

With select games available throughout the season, fans are able to purchase the pack in sizes ranging from two to eight tickets. Each ticket comes with a hot dog, soda, popcorn and parking.

The available Value Pack options are as follows:

— 300 Level Goal Zone – $27

— Club End – $49

— Sideline (F) – $67

To learn more about the Value Pack and see what games are available, click HERE.

SHARE A COKE

The Panthers and Coca-Cola are teaming up to give one fan the opportunity of a lifetime.

Between November and March, tell the team using text, video or photo which former or current Panthers players, broadcaster or executive you’d like to sit down and share a coke with using #CatsShareACoke on Twitter or Instagram, with one lucky winner being chosen to do just that!

For rules and information on the contest, click HERE.

CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK

Keith Yandle in cartoon form, what could be better than that? 

Video: Keith Yandle answers fans’ questions on The Breakaway

CATS IN THE COMMUNITY

Tweet from @StanleyCPanther: The party don���t start till I walk in! Came to the watch party tonight with @racquelgoldy & the @ROARCorps at @Bokampers in #FtLauderdale. #oneterritory pic.twitter.com/H1eJg7zx23

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Painting rats with @StanleyCPanther and the Rat Pack 😻🐀 pic.twitter.com/y3rBkVftC0

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: #SouthFlorida – support @soflinfo between now and Jan. 13 at @Publix! #lightthetorch pic.twitter.com/2MFV60j6jn

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

Panthers prospect Anthony Greco is heading to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic.

The Mini 1-on-1 Championship have been crowned.

Ian McCoshen is eager to help Florida’s blue line after earning his first call-up of the season.

The Panthers will host “Pride Night” at BB&T Center on Feb. 1.

— Mid-season awards were handed out in the latest episode of the “Territory Talk” podcast.



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