Thursday, 19/7/2018 | 2:23 UTC+0

Cats & Coffee: Panthers Head Home; Blood Drive at BB&T

Good morning and welcome to “Cats & Coffee,” a weekly segment presented by Community Coffee in which we get you caffeinated with an exciting look at the week ahead for the .

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The Florida Panthers jerseys will wrap up their current five-game road trip in Toronto on Tuesday night before turning their playoff push into high gear at home with 11 of 12 games at BB&T Center.

The Panthers (26-24-6) have won seven of its last nine games and are 3-1-0 on their current trip after a 7-2 loss to the high-flying Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.

“If you look at the big picture, we’ve got one game left before we go home,” Panthers coach said. “If we can find a way to get two points in Toronto and get four out of five [on the road], we’d take that any day before the trip started.”

With 26 games left to play in the regular season, the Panthers have clawed their way back into the playoff picture in recent weeks, sitting six points behind the for the second wild card spot in the with four games in hand.

Adidas Panthers #3 Keith Yandle Red Home Authentic Stitched NHL Jersey

Adidas Panthers #3 Keith Yandle Red Home Authentic Stitched NHL Jersey

“I think our confidence is high,” Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson said. “Obviously, that comes with the territory of winning games. I think earlier on in the year we were down on ourselves a little bit and we’d get down in games and not be too assertive with our play. I think the past few games we’ve gone into the games expecting to win, not hoping to win.”

Luongo has not played in the past 27 games because of wholesale jerseys a groin injury. He was activated from injured reserve Wednesday and backed up James Reimer in a 4-3 win at the Vancouver Canucks.

Florida is 6-1-0 in the past seven games, including four straight road wins. The Panthers are eight points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with six games in hand.

Goaltender David Rittich jersey will make his third straight start for the Flames in the absence of , who is out with a lower-body injury sustained in Calgary’s 3-2 win at the Islanders on Sunday. The Flames are 5-2-0 in their past seven games to follow a six-game losing streak (0-2-4). They lead the Anaheim Ducks by one point for third place in the Pacific Division.

“The best players have to be the best players in games like this and he definitely was,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “He looked like he had it early.”

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The Panthers (28-25-6) now sit five points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand and will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

“We don’t like doing it that way where we give up a lead, but we stick with it,” Panthers winger said. “It just shows how tight this group is in here. We never say never. It was huge to get that win. It’s a huge two points and it keeps us in the hunt. It feels good right now.”

Since Sceviour joined the Panthers organization for the 2016-17 season, he’s logged the second most short-handed ice time among all Panthers forwards (272:39) while being a key contributor to Florida’s shorthanded success. Sceviour’s penalty killing contributions have helped the Panthers achieve the fifth best penalty killing success rate (83.1) in the NHL since the start of the 2016-17 campaign. The sturdy penalty-killing forward is also second among all Panthers players in short-handed goals (4) during that time.

In 126 games with the Panthers, Sceviour has posted 38 points (16-22-38). He first signed a two-year contract with Florida on July 1, 2016. Sceviour has played 296 NHL games with Florida (2016-18) and Dallas (2010-16), producing 100 points (44-56-100). He was originally selected by Dallas in the fourth round (112th overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft.

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