Arizona at Florida
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 24, 2018
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida
The Florida Panthers look to rebound from a disappointing result last time out and continue their quest for an Eastern Conference playoff spot Saturday night when they host the improving Arizona Coyotes. The Panthers, who had gone 11-2-1 to climb within one point of the second wild-card spot, suffered a 4-0 loss at Columbus on Thursday to end a 2-1-0 trip and have four straight road games after facing Arizona.
“We’ve been a good team all year facing adversity and bouncing back after a game like this,” Florida coach Bob Boughner told reporters of the Panthers, who trail New Jersey by three points for a postseason position with two games in hand. Florida had averaged 3.7 goals in 10 games before being shut out Thursday when it allowed three tallies in the first six minutes of the second period and won’t have it easy against the Coyotes, who have climbed out of the NHL cellar with a 13-6-2 stretch. Arizona has scored 14 times in the last three games, but settled for a 6-5 loss at Carolina on Thursday after battling from two goals down to take a lead into the third period. “We were (leading) again and a couple guys cheated, and you can’t,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet told reporters after the loss. “That’s not winning hockey. I don’t care if it’s eight games left or 80 games left. It’s something that we will get right. You cannot cheat this game.”TV:
7 p.m. ET, FS Arizona, FS FloridaABOUT THE COYOTES (25-38-11):
Clayton Keller is trying to stay alive in the Calder Trophy race with a seven-game point streak in which he has three goals and six assists. Keller, who is one away from Peter Mueller’s franchise rookie record of 22 goals (2007-08), leads the team with 57 points while center Derek Stepan has 51 after posting three consecutive two-point games and leads the team with 38 assists. Oliver Ekman-Larsson owns four goals in his last seven games and fellow defenseman Alex Goligoski scored twice Thursday.ABOUT THE PANTHERS (37-28-7):
Florida was shut out for the third time this season Thursday and will need more from two of its three top scorers - Vincent Trocheck (no points, three games) along with Jonathan Huberdeau (one, last five). All-Star center Aleksander Barkov (99 career goals) tops the team with 73 points after notching three (goal, two assists) in the past three contests, but has a minus-4 rating in the last four. Veteran goalie Roberto Luongo has also cooled off after a hot stretch with one win in his last four starts, allowing 11 goals in the three defeats.OVERTIME
1. Arizona D Niklas Hjalmarsson (nine points, 48 games) left Thursday’s contest with a lower-body injury and is questionable.
2. Florida D Aaron Ekblad (15 goals, 32 points in 2017-18) is slated to play his 300th NHL game Saturday.
3. The Panthers are 4-1-2 in the last seven meetings, including a 3-2 triumph Dec. 19 in Arizona.PREDICTION:
Panthers 5, Coyotes 3
Stats and Records