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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers: Game Preview

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A battle for the top spot in the Central Division starts tonight.

Florida Panthers v Carolina Hurricanes
Andrei Svechikov #37 of the Carolina Hurricanes controls the puck on the ice as MacKenzie Weegar #52 of the Florida Panthers defends during an NHL game on April 8, 2021 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

After two extremely physical games against the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the week, the Carolina Hurricanes schedule doesn’t get any easier as they take on the Florida Panthers in a two-game set beginning tonight at the BB&T Center. The winner of tonight’s game will have sole possession of first place in the Central Division.

The Hurricanes looked the part of contenders in the back-to-back games against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions on Monday and Tuesday, and will look to keep up their winning ways against the Panthers this season.

Carolina is 5-0-1 this season against Florida and tonight starts the final two--game set against the Cats in the regular season. Since falling to the Panthers 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 17, the Hurricanes have reeled off five straight wins against Florida.

The last two games at PNC Arena on April 6 and 8 had a strong playoff feel to them, though not as physical as the two in Tampa, but the two teams laid it all on the line so expect more of that tonight.

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Lightning
Category Hurricanes Lightning
Record 5-5-0 7-3-0
Goals/Game 3.10 3.60
Goals Against/Game 2.80 2.60
Shots/Game 37.6 29.5
Face Off Win % 52.7% 47.6%
Power Play % (Rank) 20.0% (8th) 41.2% (1st)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 77.5% (9th) 75.8% (10th)
ES Corsi For % 55.1% 46.4%
ES PDO 99.1 101.5
PIM/Game 10:24 12:12

Goaltender #1

Category Alex Nedeljkovic Andrei Vasilevskiy
Category Alex Nedeljkovic Andrei Vasilevskiy
Record 4-4-0 7-3-0
Save % .920 .928
GAA 2.18 2.46

Goaltender #2

Category Alex Nedeljkovic Chris Driedger
Category Alex Nedeljkovic Chris Driedger
Record 12-4-2 12-5-3
Save % .933 .927
GAA 1.87 2.09

Goaltender #3

Category James Reimer Kasimir Kaskisuo
Category James Reimer Kasimir Kaskisuo
Record 15-5-2 0-0-0
Save % .906 .000
GAA 2.66 0.00

Game Notes

  • Since the Hurricanes snapped the Panthers’ six-game win streak earlier in the month, Florida has gone 3-3. They are still tied in points with the Canes, but the Canes have two games in hand. These are the final two games of the regular season against the Panthers beginning tonight.
  • Dougie Hamilton has registered a point in 31 games this season, which leads all NHL defenseman. Hamilton had an assist against Tampa on Tuesday night and has 26 points in his last 26 games.
  • The Panthers have won seven straight games at BB&T Center, dating back to March 20.
  • Panthers captain Alexsander Barkov has six goals and three assists for nine points in his last 10 games, including two points over his last three.
  • Jordan Martinook and Jake Gardiner dropped the gloves on consecutive night against the Lightning earlier in the week, the first time that has happened on a Hurricanes team since Brad Malone did it in consecutive games back in 2016. The Canes only had two fighting majors in the first 43 games of the season before the two assessed against Tampa Bay.