FLORIDA PANTHERSThe Florida Panthers continue to be one of the NHL’s top teams with a record of 8-2-2, good for second in their division. They split a two-game series against Tampa Bay, the only team ahead of them in the Central, with a statement 5-2 win on Thursday only to fall just as convincingly with a 6-1 setback on Saturday.
The Panthers will meet Tampa again tonight before facing off against the 9-3-0 Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday – the teams’ first meeting since the Checkers changed affiliations over the summer.
Quick trip to Tampa ✈️ pic.twitter.com/xXpy0Syz5M— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 15, 2021
SYRACUSE CRUNCHThe group of Panthers prospects in Syracuse is off to a 1-1-1 start after dropping a pair of one-goal losses this week, one of which was in overtime.
Aleksi Heponiemi is tied for the team scoring lead with four points via a pair of two-assist efforts this week. Defenseman Riley Stillman is on a point-per-game pace with three assists in three outings and top forward prospect Grigori Denisenko scored his first goal of the season on Saturday. Panthers prospect Samuel Montembeault is the only goaltender to appear for the Crunch so far this season.
GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITSLike the Panthers, the Swamp Rabbits had one excellent game against a Florida-based team before the opposition got revenge, as their 8-2 win over the Orlando Solar Bears was followed by 5-0 and 4-1 losses. They Swamp Rabbits still occupy the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Division with a record of 9-6-7.
Goaltender Ryan Bednard picked up ECHL Goaltender of the Week honors for the third time this season after going 2-1-0 with a 1.68 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and one shutout for the week ending Feb. 7. He is tied for the league lead with eight victories and two shutouts this season.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Former Checker Julien Gauthier picked up his first NHL goal for the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
- Alex Nedeljkovic made his first two starts of the season for Carolina last week. After losing his first appearance in his home state of Ohio on Monday, he made all three saves in the shootout to help the Hurricanes defeat the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Nedeljovic will continue to share the net with James Reimer while Petr Mrazek recovers from thumb surgery.
Ned! 🙅♂️ https://t.co/KDB0roEHSg— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) February 14, 2021
- Brock McGinn’s streak of four consecutive games with a goal ended on Saturday. It was the longest active streak in the NHL at the time.
- Patrick Brown, who started the season captaining the Henderson Silver Knights, was called up to Vegas’ taxi squad over the weekend.
- Ryan Warsofsky’s Chicago Wolves are a perfect 4-0-0 to start the season. Joey Keane is tied for third on the team with four points, all assists.
- Former Checker Valentin Zykov will join MODO in Sweden's second division. He had not played previously this season.