For an NHL team that already struggles at the gate, a Monday night home game against a less-than-flashy opponent can be a tough sell. When said Monday also happens to be Halloween, the challenge becomes even mightier.
The Florida Panthers are facing the above predicament Monday when they’re scheduled to host the Winnipeg Jets at the BankAtlantic Center.
The marketing department’s solution? Free admission to kids, 12 and under, who show up dressed in a Halloween costume.
(Be funny if one of the kids dressed up as an empty seat. “You’re a real jerk, kid.”)
Good on the Panthers though. Nothing wrong with providing families an affordable night out. Besides, the team’s playing solid hockey under new coach Kevin Dineen. The players deserve better crowds than they’ve been getting. So far the club is averaging just 16,191 per game, 20th in the NHL.
Not that the fans have had a ton of chances to show up and cheer the team on. Seven of Florida’s first 10 games have been played on the road.
The Panthers (6-4-0) are coming off a 3-2 win yesterday in Buffalo, the victory highlighted by two late third-period goals by offseason addition Tomas Fleischmann and vastly underrated defenseman Jason Garrison.
“We’re playing good hockey,” said goalie Jose Theodore. “The guys are really dedicated to the little details, and to playing real well.”
PHT Morning Skate: Jagr doesn’t understand why Peyton Manning would retire after winning the Super Bowl
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.