FLORIDA PANTHERSOur new parent club went 2-1-1 last week. The Panthers started things off with an overtime loss at Carolina in which former Checker Martin Necas scored the winner then followed that up with a two-game sweep of Nashville and a regulation loss against the Hurricanes last night.
Florida’s record entering the week is 15-5-4, which gives them the fourth-best record in the league but is only good enough for third in an extremely competitive Central Division. In that divisional race, the Panthers trail Carolina by just one point and Tampa Bay by two.
Eetu Luostarinen picked up his third goal of the season in the first of the week’s matchups against Carolina. Gustav Forsling re-entered the lineup after missing three games to injury and played close to 20 minutes in each contest. Forward Mason Marchment, who likely would have started a normal season in Charlotte as opposed to the Panthers’ taxi squad, has made the most of his first extended NHL opportunity by scoring five points in his last six games, including his first two NHL goals.
Florida travels to Columbus for games this Tuesday and Thursday and will return home to face Chicago on Saturday.
Luostarinen straight button mashing on this goal. pic.twitter.com/9Ky2WKPChu— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) March 2, 2021
SYRACUSE CRUNCHThe Crunch ended their five-game winless streak with a pair of victories to start the week but concluded with a loss to Rochester on Saturday. They are now 3-5-1 on the season.
A trio of Panthers prospects logged their first professional goals over the course of the week – one in each game. Rookie defenseman John Ludvig, who enjoyed an offensive breakout with WHL Portland last season, scored the winning goal with just over five minutes remaining in Monday’s game against Rochester. He then assisted on the Crunch’s only goal of Wednesday’s game that was scored by Panthers prospect Cole Schwindt, a junior-aged forward from OHL Mississauga. Finally, forward Serron Noel found the back of the net for Syracuse on Saturday.
After a six-day break, Syracuse returns to action with games against Utica and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this Friday and Saturday, respectively.
GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITSIn their three-in-three set against the Rapid City Rush, Greenville kicked things off with a wild 8-5 victory on Friday only to suffer considerably less wild 2-1 defeats on Saturday and Sunday – the latter of which was in overtime.
A pair of defensive prospects for the Panthers joined the fun on Friday, as Jake Massie, who was originally a Hurricanes draft choice, scored his second of the season and rookie Alec Rauhauser picked up his first professional points with three assists.
At 13-10-8, Greenville has dropped to fifth in the East Division and out of playoff position for the time being, though they trail fourth-place South Carolina by just .04 percentage points. The Swamp Rabbits have another three-in-three coming up this weekend against Jacksonville – an especially grueling set that features a location change for game No. 3 on Saturday.
Greenville forward and Panthers draft pick Matthew Wedman, who signed an AHL contract with Charlotte over the summer, has an interesting connection with former Checkers forward Kyle Hagel that you can read about here:
Small hockey world!— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) March 4, 2021
Very cool @FloHockey story on @FlaPanthers prospect Matthew Wedman working with our old friend Kyle Hagel in the community.
Read more here: https://t.co/TWr4WGj3VT pic.twitter.com/tcsIC0kv0a
IN OTHER NEWS
- The mixed emotions continue around here as Necas had the final say in two consecutive Carolina wins over Florida. He followed up his Feb. 27 shootout winner with this overtime goal on Monday, capping off a three-point evening. Today, he was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week after scoring seven points (2g, 5a) in four games.
- Alex Nedejlkovic set a career high with 44 saves in that game. He then stopped 33 of 35 to beat the Red Wings on Thursday and now owns a 4-2-1 record with a 2.26 goals-against average and .927 save percentage for the season.
4⃣4⃣ saves for Ned last night 👏 pic.twitter.com/JRLv0Ec5HR— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 2, 2021
- Steven Lorentz scored his first NHL goal in impressive fashion against Nashville on Tuesday.
Kudos to Steven Lorentz on his first career NHL goal! pic.twitter.com/6GVaTRKWIe— NHL (@NHL) March 3, 2021
- The Panthers signed Logan Hutsko, their third-round pick in 2018, to an entry-level contract last week. The New Jersey native has been a big scorer during his four seasons at Boston College and finishes his injury-shortened senior season with 11 points in 11 games.
- Grigori Denisenko, the Panthers’ first round draft choice in 2018, played his first two NHL games over the weekend. He had started the season with Syracuse, where he posted three points (2g, 1a) in four games.
🚨 DENI ROOKIE LAP ALERT 🚨 pic.twitter.com/2bJhmPQnk4— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) March 6, 2021
- Former Checkers defenseman Dan Renouf recorded his first NHL point with the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. After playing just one previous NHL game with Detroit in 2016-17, he has appeared in five games for the Avalanche this season.
- Patrick Brown had captained the Henderson Silver Knights to a 10-1-0 start in their inaugural season. He has six points (3g, 3a) in eight games, while Ryan Murphy leads the team and all league defensemen with 11 points (3g, 8a) in 11 outings. Tomas Jurco, who has played seven games for Henderson, went back to the Golden Knight's taxi squad last week.
- San Diego’s Andrew Poturalski has nine points (1g, 8a) in his last seven games and is now just one off the league scoring lead.
- The former Checkers in Chicago miss our breakfast.