Tag: Florida Panthers

Lack: ‘So much is different this year, it’s hard to compare’


Eddie Lack isn’t worried about a repeat of last year, when the Vancouver Canucks goalie was forced to start 19 straight games down the stretch — in a span of 41 days, no less — after Roberto Luongo was traded to Florida in early March.

This time around, with starter Ryan Miller reportedly out until at least the playoffs, Lack doesn’t believe his game will suffer with the increased workload, as it did last year.

“My body and mentally, I am feeling way better, but I am getting a lot more rest in between starts too,” Lack said ahead of his 13th straight appearance tonight versus Columbus, per NHL.com.

“So much is different this year, it’s hard to compare. I’m feeling good.”

Lack credits a new offseason workout regiment for making him stronger and more durable.

From a travel perspective, the schedule has been less arduous, too. Last year, from March 4-27, the Canucks had eight away games. This year, they’ll only have four during that same frame, with none of them outside their time zone.

To be sure, Lack is unlikely to start the remainder of the schedule. Jacob Markstrom may get the nod this weekend, either Saturday in Los Angeles or Sunday in Arizona. The Canucks also have a tough four-games-in-six-nights trip through St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago, and Winnipeg starting March 30.

Obviously, coach Willie Desjardins will want to keep Lack fresh as possible. Because there’s another thing that’s unlike last year at this time — the Canucks are in a playoff spot.

Related: After ‘nightmare’ start for Markstrom, Canucks face goaltending conundrum

Goalie nods: Panthers return ‘our MVP’ Luongo for key tilt versus Wings

Roberto Luongo

All the latest from the blue paint…

Luongo back for Florida

Roberto Luongo will play for the first time since Mar. 3 when the Panthers host the Red Wings in Sunrise this evening.

Luongo, who’s missed the past six games with a shoulder injury, draws back in looking to keep Florida’s playoff hopes alive. The Panthers went an impressive 3-2-1 during his absence with journeyman Dan Ellis in goal, but know their chances of making the postseason are increased greatly with Bobby Loo in net.

“[Luongo] has been our MVP all year long,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said, per NHL.com. “He’s been a great player for us and a great leader and a great character. He’s going to come in tonight and try to do his best.

“He’ll work hard and compete hard and I’m sure the guys will be excited to see him.”

Florida heads into tonight’s action seven points back of Boston (the Bruins take on the Sens in Ottawa tonight), but still has three head-to-head matchups remaining against the B’s.

For Detroit, Petr Mrazek gets the call in net tonight.


Sharks at Leafs: Antti Niemi vs. Jonathan Bernier

Canes at Habs: Anton Khudobin vs. Carey Price

Bruins at Senators: Tuukka Rask (probable) vs. Andrew Hammond

Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Ondrej Pavelec

Caps at Wild: Braden Holtby vs. Devan Dubnyk

Pens at Stars: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Kari Lehtonen (probable)

Flyers at Flames: Steve Mason vs. Karri Ramo

Jackets at Canucks: (No Columbus starter yet) vs. Eddie Lack

Avs at Coyotes: Semyon Varlamov vs. Louis Domingue

Brandon Pirri’s ‘shoot everything’ strategy is working pretty well

Florida Panthers v Carolina Hurricanes

From frustrated healthy scratch to one of the NHL’s hottest scorers, it’s been quite the season for Panthers forward Brandon Pirri.

Tuesday against Montreal, Pirri scored his 13th goal in his last 18 games, and the seventh goal in the nine games he’s played since returning from a shoulder injury. 

Oh, and in case you assumed he’s just on one of those unsustainable hot streaks where every shot goes in, think again. The 23-year-old finished the Montreal game with 10 shots, and he has a whopping 41 shots in his last nine games combined. That’s almost five shots per game. 

“The coaches have put me in a position to produce,” Pirri said, per NHL.com. “I’ve got to prove them right by doing that, and also if I’m not producing I’m not going to be doing my part for the team to make the playoffs. It’s just a matter that my teammates are setting me up well lately, and for me it’s just trying to shoot everything.”

Pirri, a former Blackhawks prospect who was traded to the Panthers a year ago, was one of the AHL’s top scorers when he was in the Chicago organization. But with all the offensive talent already on the ‘Hawks, he never could crack the roster on a regular basis. In Florida, he’s been given that chance.

“He’s around the puck and he’s a goal-scorer,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “You can’t teach that stuff. That’s the way he’s played his whole career. When he gets opportunities, he makes the most of them. The goal the other night (against the New York Rangers) was just a quick shot, quick release. That’s what it’s all about: Put pucks at the net, and he likes to shoot the puck.”

Report: More AHL affiliation changes coming


It appears there are more changes coming for the 2015-16 American Hockey League season.

The Florida Panthers, who are currently affiliated with the San Antonio Rampage, are expected to partner with the Portland Pirates next season. The Pirates are currently affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes.

According to Texas Stars beat reporter Sean Shapiro, San Antonio could be the new affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes beginning next season. The Rampage and Coyotes were affiliated from 2005 to 2011.

Fox Sports reported last month that the Coyotes would ultimately like to have their affiliate in Arizona, but that would require the team to purchase a franchise and relocate it.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears are currently in negotiations and are expected to announce a new affiliation agreement as early as this week.

The Coyotes and Panthers’ affiliation swap is just the latest in what has been a busy few months for the American Hockey League.

Last week the Montreal Canadiens announced they would relocate from Hamilton to St. John’s next season with the Winnipeg Jets moving its AHL affiliate to Winnipeg.

In January the AHL announced a new Pacific Division for the 2015-16 season, which will feature five teams playing in California.

The Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks will all have their top development club playing in the new division.

Habs’ Mitchell (arm) expected to miss two weeks

Montreal Canadiens v Anaheim Ducks

Montreal Canadiens’ forward Torrey Mitchell is expected to miss two weeks with a right arm injury according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Mitchell suffered the injury during the first period of Saturday night’s 3-1 win over the New York Islanders.

The 30-year-old will miss his second game tonight when the Canadiens visit the Florida Panthers.

Since his trade from the Buffalo Sabres, Mitchell has a minus-2 rating and two penalty minutes while averaging 9:23 in ice time in six games.