Panthers Look to End Losing Skid in Visit to Vancouver

The Panthers (17-18-8) are off to a 0-2-1 start on their five-game road trip, including a 4-3 loss in Calgary on Friday in which they let an early 2-0 lead slip through their fingers. After the game, coach Bob Boughner said his team’s inability to convert on their scoring chances proved costly.

According to NaturalStatTrick.com, Florida had 18 scoring chances in Calgary.

“I thought they took the play to us in the second period, which we knew that they would have their push,” Boughner said. “At the end of the day, we had four or five glorious opportunities to go ahead in this game and get the next goal, and we never did.”

Jonathan Huberdeau, Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov each scored for the Panthers against the Flames. Huberdeau leads the team in points (47) and assists (35), while Hoffman paces the club in goals (21) and power-play goals (10). Dadonov ranks second on the team with 17 goals.

Hoffman’s first-period goal in Calgary also highlighted a recent positive trend for the Panthers. After surrendering the first goal in seven consecutive games, they have since jumped out to 1-0 leads of their own in each of their last two contests, starting with Thursday’s loss in Edmonton.

In that two-game span, Florida has held a combined 22-9 shot advantage in the first period.

“It’s tough,” Hoffman said. “Obviously when you come out and have as strong a first period as we did, get the lead and then execute on the power play at the start of the [second] period, you definitely want to take advantage of those games.

“They’re a good hockey team over there. We weren’t going to dominate them for the entire game. It’s just how things work. The team that makes the most mistakes usually loses. There were one too many.”

Roberto Luongo, who made 20 saves against the Flames, is expected to start in net for the Panthers, looking to break out of a personal four-game losing streak of his own. A longtime member of the Canucks, the 39-year-old holds Vancouver’s franchise record for wins (252).

Luongo is six victories away from passing Ed Belfour for third on the NHL’s all-time wins list.

The Canucks (20-21-5) also find themselves mired in a losing streak, having dropped each of their last three games, including a 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona on Thursday that kicked off a six-game homestand. In their previous meeting, Vancouver topped Florida 3-2 on Oct. 13.

A lower-body injury is expected to keep the Canucks’ leading scorer and Calder Trophy favorite Elias Pettersson out of the lineup for the third straight game, which bodes well for the Panthers. In 38 games this season, the 20-year-old center leads the team in goals (22) and points (42).

Without Pettersson, Vancouver has gone 3-4-1 while averaging just 1.75 goals per game.

NOTES

— Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has registered 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) over his last 13 games. The 23-year-old center also ranks third in the NHL in takeaways (61), while his 23:12 of ice time per game places him first in the NHL among forwards

— An All-Star this season, Keith Yandle ranks first among Florida’s blueliners in points (36) and assists (30), while his 23 power-play points on the season places him tied for fourth in the NHL and first among all defensemen. Since 2008-09, the 32-year-old leads all NHL D-men with 217 power-play points.

— Panthers winger Frank Vatrano has recorded two goals and two assists over his last six games, with all four of those points coming at even strength.

— Aaron Ekblad leads Florida’s blueliners with eight goals. With one more goal, the 22-year-old will surpass Robert Svehla (61) for the most goals by a defenseman in franchise history.

— The Panthers have gone 15-for-16 (93.8 percent) on the penalty kill over their last seven games, with defenseman Mike Matheson logging a team-best 17:35 of shorthanded ice time during that span.

— The Panthers have registered at least one power-play goal in 27 of their last 34 games.

GEICO GOALIE MATCHUP OF THE GAME (UNCONFIRMED)

Roberto Luongo (8-10-1, 3.36 GAA, .891 SV%) vs. Jacob Markstrom (17-12-4, 2.88 GAA, .906 SV%)

Luongo is expected to make his second straight start for the Panthers after surrendering three goals on 23 shots in Calgary on Thursday. The 39-year-old last picked up a victory on Dec. 22, when he stopped 33 of 34 shots during a 2-1 win in Detroit. In his career against Vancouver, he owns a 3-3-2 record with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.

Markstrom is expected to make his fifth straight start for the Canucks. The 28-year-old has picked up the loss in each of his last three starts, allowing 11 combined goals during that span. In his career against the Panthers, who originally drafted him in 2008, he’s gone 1-3-1 with a 3.30 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.

PROJECTED LINEUP (NO MORNING SKATE)

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman – Henrik Borgstrom – Denis Malgin

Frank Vatrano – Jared McCann – Troy Brouwer

Jayce Hawryluk – Juho Lammikko – Colton Sceviour

Defense

Mike Matheson – Aaron Ekblad

Keith Yandle – Mark Pysyk

Bogdan Kiselevich – MacKenzie Weegar

Goalies

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratches: Ian McCoshen, Micheal Haley, Nick Bjugstad (upper body)

Injured Reserve: Derek MacKenzie (shoulder), Jamie McGinn (back), Vincent Trocheck (ankle)

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

– Jan. 7: D Ian McCoshen was recalled from Springfield (AHL)

– Jan. 7: D Chris Wideman was loaned to Springfield (AHL)

– Dec. 30: D Alexander Petrovic was traded to Edmonton for D Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick.

– Dec. 29: G Michael Hutchinson was traded to Toronto for a 2020 fifth-round pick.

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN

When: Sunday, Jan. 13, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Rogers Arena – Vancouver, BC

TV: Fox Sports Florida (Alternate Channels Below)

DISH: 443

DISH HD: 9581

DISH HOPPER: 412-31

DTV HD: 654-1

AT&T: 721

AT&T HD: 1721

Stream: HERE

Florida Panthers Radio Network: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast)

Watch Party: Thanks to the new “Territory on Tap” program, every road game now offers a chance for a watch party in South Florida! To see which local bars and restaurants will have drink specials and giveaways for today’s game, visit the official “Territory on Tap” page!