Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Fantasy owners, take note: Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad's stock is steadily rising.
The 22-year-old appears primed for a breakout season this year and has been brimming with confidence during a stretch of stellar play recently. Thursday night, the former University of Minnesota standout tallied twice in the Panthers 3-2 shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks and got the difference-maker on his first shootout try of the season. Just two games prior, Bjugstad recorded a career-high four points.
With seven points in the last three games, he appears to have put the lengthy scoring drought he went through to open the season in the rearview mirror. Look for big things from him in his third year as a pro.
read on for more topics from the ESPN hockey writers...
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
The swing through California has become an opportunity for assessment of teams playing games in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. Win there and you can win anywhere, the thinking goes.
The Florida Panthers have quietly started off the season pretty well -- not great, but hanging around at 6-4-5 -- and on Sunday began a four-game road trip that included three in California. It started with an impressive win in Anaheim. The Panthers struggled to score goals earlier in the season, but that hasn't been a problem lately.
The Panthers beat the Ducks 6-2, with the six goals a season-high. Brad Boyes and Nick Bjugstad each scored twice. The six goals eclipsed the total number of goals Florida scored in its first five games this season. In November, the Panthers are averaging three goals a game, improved production that will get a test as the California trip continues in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
read on for Burnside on the Coyotes, and LeBrun on the Canadiens among other topics....
Anyone recall seeing a save in this fashion?
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
With a four goal lead and Roberto Luongo in net, Florida finally got to enjoy a blowout of its own design and snapped a three-game winless streak with a 4-1 rout of visiting San Jose at BB&T Center.
"I think we really stuck to our game plan and we were ready to go right from the start,'' said Jimmy Hayes, who gave Florida a 1-0 lead midway through the first.
"We continued playing throughout the game. We got the quick start and kept the pressure on them. And Luongo was played like he does. He keeps us in every game. ''
from Working The Corners,
Sharks coach Todd McLellan listed several things that went wrong Tuesday in the third game of the seven-game trip.
“We didn’t execute at all. We didn’t put two passes together. So, any time we did win battles for the puck and have an opportunity to get up ice, maybe made the first one, but we sure didn’t make the second one,” McLellan said.
“Didn’t have the puck a lot. Our defensive zone coverage, our awareness, obviously on the first couple of goals hurt us a lot. We just never established any type of energy in the game, any type of consistent attack. We spent more time defending, and a lot of it was our own doing because we didn’t manage the puck well.”
Below, watch Willie Mitchell post-games after the Panthers 6-4 loss to the Flames today.
from Louis Jean of TVA Sports,
They have the fourth best defense in the National Hockey League behind Chicago, St. Louis and Anaheim. They also equip the fifth best record 5 against 5 ... Only Nashville, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and St. Louis have done better. Who is he?
If you guessed the Florida Panthers hat!
In just 10 games, one of the worst teams in the league last year has greatly improved. Is it a coincidence that it coincides with the arrival of head coach Gerard Gallant?
"It will be a long season," said Gallant laughing on the phone, in Philadelphia, in an interview with TVA Sports.
from Craig Davis of the Sun-Sentinel,
As for expectations in the evening for his first game as a visitor at TD Garden, the veteran toughie said he has no plans to drop the gloves against his former team, though he didn't rule it out.
"I never go into a game thinking about it. I haven't for a long time," said Thornton, a veteran of 125 NHL regular-season fights since entering the league in 2002, according to HockeyFights.com. "They're pretty banged up, I think a lot of their toughness is actually out of their lineup.
"But you never know. I'd beat up my own sister if it got us two points. So it really doesn't matter to me."
Thornton is one of those players that fans embrace when he's on the home team but single out for loathing as an opponent. Thus, Tuesday will be a unique experience for him cast as a villain in Boston.
via the NHL...
Arley Londono with the call of Scottie Upshall's game winning goal as part of Hispanic Heritage Night at the Florida Panthers vs. Arizona Coyotes game...
Dale Tallon was on Florida radio this morning with Steve Goldstein
via tweets from Goldstein...
Dale Tallon on #FlaPanthers offense,"I'd be worried if we weren't getting chances but we are. We know we need to get that top goal scorer."
Tallon, "We are committed, we are going to be a good team for a long time to come. As we improve we will get more people in the building."
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers were counting on substantial production from four players who likely would financially benefit from putting up big stats.
Through the first six games, only one of Florida's pending free agents has done so.
Sean Bergenheim is tied for the team lead with two goals. Scottie Upshall has just one assist while Tomas Kopecky and Tomas Fleischmann have yet to register a point.
All four signed four-year deals with the Panthers in 2011 that expire after this season.
"There is no concern from me because I think they are playing well,'' coach Gerard Gallant said. "To me, it doesn't matter who scores the goals but what's important is who competes and plays hard every night. These guys are working hard. I know they want to score goals but when you win, that takes care of everything else.''
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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