The Carolina Hurricanes end the calendar year with a visit from an old friend. Eric Staal and the Florida Panthers visit PNC Arena this evening.
The 2022 schedule will end on a high note whether the Canes win tonight or not.
The team has gone streaking and has been the best team in the NHL since the end of November. It has been a total team effort and some young pieces are growing quicker than expected.
Cats Scouting Report
The Panthers had a phenomenal regular season last year but have been struggles finding themselves this season.
Of late the results have been high scoring on both ends and have had mixed results.
In their last five games, the Panthers have scored 17 goals but surrendered 20 goals. In that span, they have won 2 games and lost 3.
Giving up 4 goals or more against the New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, and New York Islanders the defense and goaltending have been suspect.
The reigning President’s Trophy winners find themselves with just 36 points on the season and 8 points out of a playoff spot.
Florida is 7-11-1 on the road and have given up 122 goals on the season. The offense remains dangerous with 121 goals scored but it is tough to win games when you are giving up more goals than you score.
In his first season in Florida, Matthew Tkachuk leads the team with 17 goals and 43 points.
Carter Verhaeghe leads the club in goals with 18 and is tied for second in team points with Brandon Montour’s 30 points.
As we mentioned, this team can score and it shows with the depth. Seven players have 20 points or more and Eetu Luostarinen is on the cusp with 19 points.
Montour and Aaron Ekblad have been minus players on defense and Montour’s offensive contribution has been strong, while Ekblad has been serviceable with 4 goals.
As expected, the goaltending stats are nothing to write home about. Sergei Bobrovsky has started 21 games and has a dismal 3.23 GAA with an .897 save percentage.
Spencer Knight has faired slightly better in 15 starts with a 2.93 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
It appears that Antti Raanta will be getting the nod tonight in net for the Hurricanes. After a 24 save shutout, Raanta deserves another start.
Raanta has surprisingly started over rookie sensation, Pyotr Kochetkov, of late.
Kochetkov had appeared to take the reign in net but surprisingly has take a seat to Raanta. Whether this is to shop Raanta or not, the team has been able to win with both goaltenders.