The rules say that someone has to lose this game.
Well, here we are. The whole “unstoppable force meets an immovable object” deal.
Only two teams remain who have no regulation losses, and they’re meeting tonight in Sunrise, Florida. Someone does have to win this one — that’s how the rules work, after all.
The Hurricanes are trying to chase down an NHL record for consecutive wins to start a season — the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres and 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs have the record with 10 straight. It feels fitting that the team they’re up against is their Atlantic Division counterpart, sitting at the top of the standings and looking very dangerous.
The Panthers will be doing it without several key players, however. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is considered day-to-day after leaving the Panthers’ last game with an upper body injury. Sam Bennett, Joe Thornton, and Radko Gudas are all potentially out as well.
If Bobrovsky is going to miss time, it’s up to Spencer Knight to step up. He’s won three of his four starts, with the fourth being the Panthers’ sole loss (to Boston in the shoot-out). While Bobrovsky was looking like a man who’d finally got his game back on track, Knight has certainly been impressive in small sample sizes.
The Hurricanes, of course, are dealing with their own injury woes. The latest name to add to the list is Brett Pesce, who left the game against Chicago in the second period and is now considered week-to-week.
Let’s see how the top two teams in the league stack up:
- Both the Panthers and Hurricanes are top five in the league in terms of scoring. The Panthers are second with 41; the Hurricanes are fourth with 37 goals.
- These two teams probably still hate each other from last year. In the 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes went 6-0-2 against the Panthers, outscoring them by 10 goals (29 to 10) in the regular season.
- Andre Svechnikov is the only player from either team to appear at the top of the scoring list. His 13 points place him seventh in the league, tied with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Troy Terry.
- While Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond is currently running away with the scoring race, Anton Lundell of the Panthers is making his presence known. The 20 year old Finnish forward currently has five points in six games.
- The next goal from Aleksander Barkov will give him the all-time franchise lead in goals scored. His 189th goal will give him the lead over Olli Jokinen.
- With the injuries to Nino Niederreiter and now Brett Pesce, the clock is ticking even more loudly on Seth Jarvis. He’s played two of the nine games that he’s allowed to play before the first year of his contract gets activated. He’s playing well in a very small sample size, and should look to continue to challenge for a permanent roster spot.