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Cats & Coffee: Luongo Healthy as Panthers Return Home

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!

It’s good to be home.

After splitting the 2018 NHL Global Series with the Winnipeg Jets in Helsinki, Finland this past week, the Florida Panthers have returned to Sunrise looking to build off a solid performance in their last outing as they prepare to kick off a three-game homestand at BB&T Center.

In the final game of their international back-to-back against the Jets, Roberto Luongo made 32 saves and the Panthers scored a season-high three goals on the power play to beat Winnipeg 4-2 for their first regulation win of the season – a potential turning point early in the campaign.

“The way we played last night is the way we need to play every game,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov wrote of the victory in his travel blog. “I didn’t see any problems with it at all. This should be our identity. This is how we know we can play and how we’re going to play from here on out.

“We just need to prepare for the rest of our games like we did for these two against Winnipeg. We need to be excited and have fun on the ice. We need to be brave. We can’t be afraid to make mistakes. In hockey, those mistakes will come no matter what, so all you can really do is your best.”

In his first taste of competitive action since suffering a knee injury during a 2-1 loss in Tampa in the season opener on Oct. 6, Luongo looked no worse for wear in leading the Panthers to a big win over the Jets. Moving forward, the 39-year-old is eager to help get Florida back on track.

“It’s never fun to be on the sideline watching the game,” said Luongo, who needs just 12 more wins to tie Ed Belfour for third place on the NHL’s all-time wins list for goaltenders. “The boys are going to war every night and you’re not there for them.”

With Luongo back in the fold, the Panthers are brimming with confidence.

“It was also really big to get Lu back,” Barkov said. “We now have three really good goalies that are healthy. When you have a goalie like Lu, it’s awesome. Every team would love to have that type of guy, and we know we’re really lucky to have him on our team – not just on the ice, but in the locker room and away from the ice, too. He means a lot to everyone.”

If you missed anything from Florida’s trip to Finland, you can find it HERE.

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

THE GAMES

Thursday: Edmonton Oilers, 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers will get their first look at last year’s Art Ross Trophy winner when Connor McDavid and the Oilers (8-4-1) make their lone visit to South Florida this season on Thursday. Edmonton enters the week having won five of its last six games, including a 4-3 win in Detroit on Saturday. As you’d expect, McDavid leads the team in scoring, posting 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 13 games – which is tied for the second-most points in the league. For the Panthers, look for Luongo to shut down the Oilers offense, as the future Hall of Famer has stopped 44 of 46 shots he’s faced so far this season while also owning a 27-13-5 career record against Edmonton.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (DADE/BROWARD); 640 WMEN (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS); 1370 WAXE (TREASURE COAST) *WAXE START TIME 8PM

In-Arena Promotions: $5 Beer Thursdays, Food Drive, Hockey N’ Heels

Tickets: HERE

Saturday: New York Islanders, 7:00 p.m.

Florida will need to cool off one of the league’s hottest teams when the streaking Islanders (8-4-1) visit BB&T Center on Saturday. After losing to the Panthers 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 24, New York has ripped off five straight victories, including a 3-0 shutout win over New Jersey in their last outing on Saturday. The Islanders have allowed just seven goals during their current streak, as their defense now sits at third in the league, surrendering just 2.31 goals per game this year. For the Panthers, look for Mike Hoffman to crack New York’s defense and find his way onto the scoresheet, as the 28-year-old winger leads the team with 42 shots on goal and enters the week riding a career-high nine-game point streak, registering six goals and three assists in that span.

TV: FSF

Radio: 560 WQAM (DADE/BROWARD); 640 WMEN (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS); 1370 WAXE (TREASURE COAST) *WAXE START TIME 8PM

In- Arena Promotions: Legacy Saturdays (Bill Torrey), 50/50 Raffle Guaranteed $25,000

Tickets: HERE

Sunday: Ottawa Senators, 5:00 p.m.

The Panthers will close out already their fourth back-to-back set of the season when they host the Senators (5-6-3) at BB&T Center on Sunday evening. Ottawa enters the week having lost six of its last seven games, including a lopsided 9-2 loss in Buffalo on Saturday. Thanks in part to that loss, the Senators are now in possession of the league’s worst defense, allowing 4.21 goals per game on average. This bodes well for Florida’s offense, especially forward Evgenii Dadonov. In 11 games this season, the 29-year-old winger has recorded a team-high 13 points (six goals, seven assists) and is in the midst of a career-high eight-game point streak. The Panthers are 2-0-1 in the second half of back-to-backs so far this season.

TV: FSF

Radio: 790 WAXY (DADE/BROWARD); 640 WMEN (PALM BEACH); 100.3 WCTH (FLORIDA KEYS)

In-Arena Promotions: Veteran’s Day

Tickets: HERE

MILESTONE WATCH

Jonathan Huberdeau is three goals away from his 100th NHL goal.

– Jonathan Huberdeau is four games away from his 400th NHL game.

– Evgenii Dadonov is two points away from his 100th NHL point.

HOCKEY N’ HEELS

The Panthers will host their annual Hockey N’ Heels Night on Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. at BB&T Center, prior to Florida’s matchup with the Edmonton Oilers. The event is presented by Spectra Baby USA and will feature a speaker panel of successful and influential local women.

This year’s panel includes: Bertha Henry (Broward County Administrator), Christina Cioeta (Gold Coast Beverage Vice President of Marketing), Heather Geronemus (Public Relations at Ultimate Software), Sarah MacKenzie (Hockey Mother & Wife) and moderator Angie Lassman (NBC6 Meteorologist).

In addition to the panel, there will also be vendor tables holding raffles, giveaways and providing more information about their companies. Guests are encouraged to arrive at 5:30 p.m., but will still be able to network, mingle and visit vendor tables through the end of the first intermission.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the event.

Fans who purchase a ticket to this networking event will also receive one lower-level seat to the Panthers-Oilers game. For more information, please visit FloridaPanthers.com/Promos.

TEXT 2 GIVE

With the new “Text 2 Give” promotion, you can donate to the Florida Panthers Foundation while also putting yourself in the running for great prizes. All you have to do is text “CATS5” to 74747 to donate $5 and be entered for a chance to win during each Thursday home game this season. This week’s prize is a Panthers 25th Anniversary Jersey signed by Panthers Legacy Saturdays alumni. Additionally, the winner will also receive $100 to spend on merchandise in Pantherland.

CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK

Already an all-star on the ice, Vincent Trocheck‘s life away from the rink is just as nice.

Video: Getting to know Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck

CATS IN THE COMMUNITY

Tweet from @BigCeaz: Thank you again @FlaPanthers organization for coming out to our first Trunk N Treat event at our school. World class organization! pic.twitter.com/jPoFdWyBIS

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: #NHLGlobalSeries stars spreading some cheer this morning in Helsinki. pic.twitter.com/JAN6V5ZD0S

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Last week, we teamed up with @JetBlue and @CSCBroward to Read for the Record at Sawgrass Elementary as part of #BrowardReads! pic.twitter.com/fz2ps8VpPq

COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)

— In his final travel blog entry, Aleksander Barkov tips his hat to the people of Finland and talks about the overall experience of playing an NHL game in front of his family, friends and countrymen.

— Miss anything from Florida’s Global Series win over Winnipeg? We’ve got you covered with these “5 Takeaways.”

— Mike Hoffman penned the final “Panther Postcard” in Finland, discussing his time in Helsinki and his newfound comfort on the ice.

— Aleksander Barkov and Patrik Lainebrought some cheer to a Helsinki-area hospital.

There’s nothing like Finnish chicken wings, says Aleksander Barkov.

The Panthers found some new fans during their trip to Finland.

Troy Brouwer and Alexander Petrovic were featured on this week’s episode of Territory Talk, sitting down with Doug and Jameson to dish out their time in Helsinki and the Panthers season.



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