FLORIDA PANTHERSThe Panthers began the week with a pair of statement wins against two of the other top teams in their division – the Tampa Bay Lighting and Carolina Hurricanes. They then finished the week by splitting a two-game set against the last-place Detroit Red Wings, who are surprisingly responsible for two of the Panthers’ three regulation losses this season.
Florida (11-3-2) enters the week one point behind Carolina for first place in a Central Division that boasts three of the league’s top five teams in terms of points percentage (Carolina, Florida and Tampa). The Panthers, at home all week, are scheduled to play three straight against Dallas before starting a two-game set with the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Former Checker Gustav Forsling returned from injury last week and played in each of the Panthers’ last three games. Eetu Luostarinen continues to anchor the third line for a team that has been getting contributions throughout the lineup.
SYRACUSE CRUNCHIt was a difficult week for the Panthers’ prospects playing for the temporary joint affiliation in Syracuse as they dropped each of their two games and are now 1-3-1 to start the season.
Panthers prospects Brady Keeper and Grigori Denisenko accounted for all of the Crunch goal scoring in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Rochester. Denisenko ranks third on the team with two goals in four outings. Aleksi Heponiemi remains tied for the team scoring lead with four points, all assists.
“They just have the hunger to get better."— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) February 21, 2021
Chase Priskie on the junior guys getting playing time at the AHL level. pic.twitter.com/mccSprwnTM
GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITSAfter kicking off a three-in-three set against the first-place Indy Fuel with a 4-3 win on Friday, the Swamp Rabbits dropped each of the next two games by identical 4-0 scores. At 10-8-7 and third in the Eastern Division, Greenville retains its hold on a playoff spot heading into a three-game home set against Allen starting Thursday.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Alex Nedeljkovic made 24 saves to earn his first NHL shutout against the defending champion Lightning on Saturday. He continues to evenly split the playing time with James Reimer in Petr Mrazek’s absence.
In Ned we trust 💪 https://t.co/39ONiuOrfS— Steve Lorentz (@slorentz96) February 21, 2021
- After spending most of the early season on the sidelines, Jake Bean has played in each of the Hurricanes’ last four games and has posted his first four NHL points, all assists.
- Brock McGinn’s offensive breakout continued with a career-high four points (2g, 2a) against Columbus last Monday. He’s up to seven goals in 16 games, matching his total from 68 games last season.
Just one of the four(!!) points Brock tallied tonight pic.twitter.com/uMxDrzybGT— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 16, 2021
- Janne Kuokkanen posted a career-high three points, all assists, in New Jerseys’ win over the Rangers on Tuesday.
- Former Checkers defenseman Dan Renouf and former Checkers equipment manager Donny White, now with the Avalanche organization, were in Lake Tahoe for Colorado’s eventual win over Vegas on Saturday.
- Stay tuned to former Checkers captain Michal Jordan’s twitter feed for humorous takes on his latest exploits in the KHL.
- After a slow start to the season in terms of scoring by his standards, Andrew Poturalski blew up for four points (1g, 3a) in San Diego’s win against Colorado on Saturday. Trevor Carrick had the primary assist on his goal.
- Ryan Warsofsky will coach his brother with the Chicago Wolves after the Hurricanes acquired David Warsofsky from Toronto on Tuesday.
- After being in the NHL ever since his last call from Charlotte nearly one year ago, Morgan Geekie responded to an assignment to Chicago in the best possible way over the weekend. He recorded four goals and an assist in just two games, helping the Wolves to a 7-0-0 record.
- Former Checkers defensemen Ryan Murphy (Henderson) and Joey Keane (Chicago) are tied for second among AHL blueliners with seven points apiece.