NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 4th
(All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (32-38-7) at Florida Panthers (27-42-8), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers will begin the process of wrapping
up another disappointing campaign when the sliding club starts a five-game
season-ending homestand with Friday's clash against the Calgary Flames.
The Panthers have been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention,
meaning the franchise will miss the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 seasons.
The club is not exactly going down swinging, having lost four straight and
seven of its past eight.
Had Florida still be in contention, the upcoming five-game stay at BB&T Center
could have been helpful to the team's playoff cause. Instead, the Panthers can
concern themselves with finishing the season strong and improving upon a
14-17-5 record on home ice.
The Panthers are coming off an 0-2 road trip, losing regulation decisions
against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. After losing 6-3 to the
Devils on Monday, Florida was handed a 4-2 setback the following night at
Florida briefly held a 1-0 lead over the Islanders on Tuesday after Quinton
Howden scored shorthanded just 1:50 into the game. However, New York scored
four unanswered goals to take control of the contest. The Isles' surge began
with a power-play goal from Travis Hamonic, who lit the lamp just 45 seconds
Brandon Pirri also scored for Florida, while Scott Clemmensen allowed all four
goals on 40 shots.
Roberto Luongo expects to start Friday's game. The veteran goaltender is 4-5-1
with a 2.54 goals against average in 10 games with the Panthers since coming
over from Vancouver at the trade deadline.
The Flames also have been eliminated from playoff contention, but the club was
able to halt a two-game slide with Thursday's road win over the Tampa Bay
Lightning. Karri Ramo stopped 31 shots to help Calgary beat the Lightning,
Mike Cammalleri and Kevin Westgarth scored 15 seconds apart in the first
period for the Flames, who also had lost three of four entering Thursday's
tile. Curtis Glencross scored twice late in the game.
"We all had a good game out there tonight," said Ramo. "There's not much left
in this season and we all want to do our best before it ends."
The Flames, who haven't made the playoff since 2009, will cap a four-game road
trip Monday in New Jersey. They are 14-20-4 as the guest this season.
Calgary recorded a 4-3 shootout win when it hosted the Panthers on Nov. 22. It
was the second win for the Flames in the last five meetings of this series.
The clubs have split the four meetings in South Florida.
04/04 10:54:48 ET