Sunday, January 3, 2010
NHL Extra Around the ice
• Player to watch: Left winger Niklas Hagman spent parts of four seasons with the Panthers before being shipped out by Mike Keenan and Jacques Martin in 2005. He has burned them ever since, averaging a goal per game. Hagman had two goals against the Cats earlier this season.
• Analysis: The Panthers swept the four-game series against the Maple Leafs for the first time last season, but that success didn't spill over into this season. The Leafs won 6-4 in Sunrise on Nov. 27.
• Series: Toronto leads 26-16-7.
PANTHERS @ CANADIENS, 7:30 P.M. THURSDAY (FSNF)
• Player to watch: Defenseman Andrei Markov went into the New Year with eight assists this season; three of them came against the Panthers on Dec. 31.
• Analysis: The Canadiens have had the Panthers' number of late, winning four of the past five games -- including a 5-4 decision in Sunrise on New Year's Eve. These teams tied for the eighth spot in the East last season, but the Panthers have some ground to make up this season after the Habs won 6 of 7 on their most recent trip.
• Series: Tied 28-28-6.
PANTHERS @ SENATORS, 7 P.M. SATURDAY (FSNF)
• Player to watch: Center Mike Fisher made headlines on the gossip pages for his proposal to Carrie Underwood last month, but his play has garnered just as much attention in sports circles.Fisher's 15 goals this season already have surpassed last year's total, and his 31 points were tied for the team lead going into the New Year.
• Analysis: Ottawa bounced back from an 8-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 23 to finish 2009 strong, winning 3 of 4. The Senators won 4-3 in Sunrise on Oct. 28.
• Series: Ottawa leads 33-25-3.
CAT CONFIDENTIAL | WAS IT TOUGH TO PLAY A HOME GAME THAT SOUNDS LIKE A ROAD GAME, AS WAS THE CASE THURSDAY AGAINST MONTREAL?
Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov: It's always good to have your own crowd, people rooting for us. But we don't have a lot of people who come, so on one side, it's good to have a full barn. But they're not our fans and that's a sad thing. I asked [Gregory Campbell] if we were going to wear our road whites.
Defenseman Keith Ballard: Montreal has a great following, is a great franchise and the tradition they have is awesome. We love going to Montreal and playing and this is what it's like. Only a lot shorter trip.
Center Dominic Moore: It's always fun to have passionate fans in the building. The Panthers have great fans and you could hear the rivalry going with the out-of-town fans. It made for a good atmosphere.
ASK A FLORIDA PANTHER | DENNIS SEIDBERG
DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE OLYMPIC MOMENT AND THE EXCITEMENT THAT SURROUNDS THE GAMES
In 2002, I got to go into the stadium in Salt Lake for Opening Ceremonies, and that was an unreal feeling knowing you were there representing your country and everyone at home was watching. This year, we are going up just to play the games and you don't get the full Olympic feeling, but it's still very special. My first Olympics was great because I was still playing in Germany and I was so nervous being around all the NHL guys.