NHL

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 - 7:30 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Coyotes-Panthers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Florida Panthers haven't lost at home in regulation in their last eight games. That's not to say wins have been coming easily.

The Panthers go for their third straight victory at BankAtlantic Center when they host the stumbling Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night.

After finishing with the third-fewest points in the NHL last season (72), Florida (18-9-6) is leading the Southeast Division, in part because of its success at home. The Panthers are 8-2-5 on their own ice, including 6-0-2 in the last eight.

They'll try to extend that success Tuesday, but will likely be without Sean Bergenheim, who strained his groin in a 3-2 overtime win over Carolina on Sunday. He scored earlier in the game after recording two goals in Friday's shootout win against Calgary.

"Huge loss with the way he's playing," coach Kevin Dineen said.

Florida will also be without Jack Skille, who injured his shoulder Friday and is expected to miss a month. Scottie Upshall (hip) and Marcel Goc (concussion) have been out since last month and aren't expected back until January.

The growing injured list makes the team's recent success - especially in close games - even more impressive.

Florida's last 12 home games have each been decided by one goal. The Panthers led the NHL with 49 one-goal games last season, going 19-18-12. They've been better this season in those close contests, going 9-3-6.

"They're finding ways," Dineen said. "Sometimes it's not a thing of beauty but we're finding a way to get our two points. ... Nothing comes easy for this team."

Things definitely seem to be easy for Kris Versteeg, who scored the game winner Sunday - his team-leading 16th of the season. He has four goals and four assists in eight games this month.

While Florida, which is 5-1-2 in its last eight overall, has been coming up with big goals, Phoenix (16-13-3) is giving them up, losing four of five to drop to 3-6-0 in December.

In a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, the Coyotes led after two periods, but gave up the winning goal with 0.1 seconds left.

"Mistakes keep piling up," coach Dave Tippett said. "You're giving away points like this, and it's not good. But, it is what it is."

Phoenix has been outscored 21-8 in its last six losses and it's not hard to see why given the lackluster effort. The Coyotes put only 23 shots on net Saturday - the second time in three games they had fewer than 25.

Their once steady penalty-kill unit, meanwhile, has given up 12 goals in 31 chances (38.7 percent) after allowing 8 power-play goals in the previous 76 (10.5 percent) opportunities.

"I firmly believe some of this adversity will help us but only if we allow it to help us," Tippett said. "We've got to use it use it as a motivating factor and not as a crutch or use it as an excuse. We've gotten better as a group, but now you've got to prove that you've gotten better; not just talk about, you've got to do it."

Florida won the last meeting between the teams 2-1 in a shootout on Dec. 4, 2010.

Tagged: Coyotes, Panthers

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt