Preview: Red-hot goalie Harri Sateri leads Panthers into showdown with Canucks
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
SUNRISE, Fla. — This is hard to believe, but it’s true.
Harri Sateri, who before last week could best be described as a 28-year-old career minor leaguer without a single NHL win in scant opportunities, is now the toast of the league.
On Monday, he was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week — just behind Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin. Sateri had a 3-0-0 week that included a 1.67 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage.
“He’s like a veteran out there,” Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad told the media after Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s fun to play for a guy who is willing to come out of his net and make plays. He’s been unbelievable.”
Sateri will make his fifth consecutive start on Tuesday night when the Panthers (22-22-6) host the Vancouver Canucks (21-25-6) at the BB&T Center.
The Canucks have actually been better on the road (11-11-3) than at home (10-14-3). Florida is 12-8-3 at home.
Overall, Vancouver is 3-2-0 in its past five games, and the Canucks are expected to be without center Sam Gagner, who has been out since Thursday with a concussion. He has seven goals and 15 assists in 51 games.
The twins, who will turn 38 in September, are in the final year of their contracts. They have played their entire careers with the Canucks — 239 goals by Henrik and 383 goals by Daniel.
“We talked about it the other day,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning told The Vancouver Sun when asked about his Wednesday meeting with the twins. “It was a mutual agreement that we would just play out the year … and then sit down and talk.”
“They like the direction of the team,” Benning said of the twins.
Besides the twins, the Canucks have pending unrestricted free agents such as defenseman Eric Gudbranson and left winger Thomas Vanek. Both players wore the Panthers sweater before landing in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, the Panthers, who are long shots to make the playoffs, are trying to ride the hot glove and stick of Sateri. Center Aleksander Barkov, Florida’s lone all-star this year, powers the offense.
Panthers starting goalie Roberto Luongo — considered a sure-fire Hall of Famer — and backup James Reimer are both out with right-leg injuries. Both are close to getting back to game action, and that’s especially true of Reimer.
“I expect him to be cleared for Friday’s game against the visiting Los Angeles Kings,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said.
“It’s Harri’s net right now. He’s done a great job. We want to let him run with that. But nothing changes — (Luongo) is our one (when healthy), and Reimer is our two.”