Found February 23, 2012 on
Fox Sports Florida:
Tune into FOX Sports Florida at 7 p.m. to watch the Florida Panthers take on the Minnesota Wild. NHL Panthers territory.
The Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild are two of the league's lowest-scoring teams, and their offensive woes have contributed to recent skids which have hurt their postseason hopes.
Florida looks to salvage the finale of a four-game homestand Thursday night against Minnesota, which has not scored more than one goal in a road game this month.
The Panthers (27-20-11) are battling Washington, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay for the Southeast Division crown, with the possibility that the three teams who don't win it could all miss the playoffs.
Florida hasn't helped its cause by getting outscored 10-3 and losing the first three on its homestand, including a 2-0 loss to Anaheim on Sunday. Jose Theodore, who played 32 games for Minnesota last season, had his second straight solid outing with 25 saves after a 39-save effort in Friday's 2-1 loss to the Capitals.
The Panthers have scored more than two goals just twice in their last 10 home games, and they've had no more than three in eight of nine overall.
"We need to find ways to score," coach Kevin Dineen said. "We're not creating enough on offense to get us two points at the end of the night."
Minnesota (26-24-9) led the Western Conference on Dec. 18, but it has since gone 6-16-4 while averaging 1.8 goals and now is fighting to simply stay in the playoff race.
They ended a seven-game losing streak with a 2-0 home win over Boston on Sunday as Niklas Backstrom had a career-high 48 saves.
"Winning, that's fun, that's why you play, and we haven't had a lot of wins in the last couple of months, so sure it's been tough," said Backstrom, who has a 1.84 goals-against average over his last eight starts but has gone 3-3-2.
"Hopefully this is a good start for something new. We'll try to enjoy this. We learned the last couple of months, you can't take anything for granted."
The Wild have been limited to 12 goals in nine games in February, scoring just three in four road games. They're averaging 1.1 goals during a 2-11-3 slump away from home.
Minnesota fell 4-0 at St. Louis on Saturday for its third straight road loss, but hopes the following day's win over the Northeast Division-leading Bruins has created some momentum.
"It's been a tough stretch and it's important that we don't sit here and pat ourselves on the back too much," said Matt Cullen, who ended an eight-game pointless streak with his first goal since Jan. 10. "Certainly we'll enjoy it now. We're happy and we're proud of the way we played, but we have to continue to build. We have an uphill climb ahead of us."
Mikko Koivu has missed the last two contests with an undisclosed injury, and coach Mike Yeo said it's unlikely the captain will play in Florida or at Dallas on Friday.
"We likely won't bring him if he's not going to play," Yeo told the team's official website. "Odds are he won't be coming with us."
Florida had lost seven straight to Minnesota before winning the last two meetings, including a 2-1 home victory Nov. 12, 2010, in the most recent matchup.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss will become the franchise's all-time leader in games played on Thursday.
Weiss will play in his 614th contest when the Panthers face the Minnesota Wild. He'll snap a tie with right wing Radek Dvorak for the honor.
"It's a great accomplishment for anybody to put in a long tenure at any business," Florida coach Kevin Dineen...
Although I think the system is broken when the team which currently has the 8th most points in the conference gets the 3rd seed simply by virtue of a weak division, that’s where the Panthers find themselves. They are a good story after an on-the-fly rebuild in the off-season, but as a result, the 6th seeded team draws the easier matchup than the 4th or 5th seed, but I digress...
THURSDAY'S STORY LINES: After an impressive 2-0 win Sunday over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, the Wild look to continue heading in the right direction tonight in Florida.
After the victory, Minnesota had three days off and two practices. Head coach Mike Yeo doesn't think his team will be stale tonight after the layover.
"We had two great practices...
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Matt Cullen and Erik Christensen scored in the shootout to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Cullen and Kyle Brodziak scored in regulation, Dany Heatley had two assists, and Niklas Backstrom stopped 41 shots for the Wild.
Christensen scored the first goal in the shootout, followed by Cullen. Backstrom stopped...
SAINT PAUL, Minn. The Minnesota Wild recalled goaltender Matt Hackett from the Houston Aeros.
Hackett is 2-0-0 with a 0.85 goals-against average and a .977 save percentage in three games with Minnesota this season, having stopped 84 of 86 shots. He is 16-13-4 with a 2.42 GAA, a .917 save percentage and one shutout in 34 games with the Aeros.
The 6-foot-2, 179-pound native of London...
The New Jersey Devils acquired defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for three players and two draft picks.
Devils president Lou Lamoriello announced during Friday's game that New Jersey sent defenseman Kurtis Foster, forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux, Washington's second-round choice in the 2012 draft and a conditional choice in 2013....
The Florida Panthers could regain the Southeast Division lead following their next game. They could also fall out of the playoff picture in the crowded Eastern Conference.
Florida will try to snap a season high-tying four-game losing streak Saturday night when the host Carolina Hurricanes continue their playoff push in the first of four matchups between these division rivals over...
As Monday’s trade deadline nears, the Panthers sent a 2012 sixth-round draft pick to Nashville for center Jerred Smithson.
A little while ago Darren Dreger of TSN reported that Minnesota Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky waived his no-trade clause to go to the New Jersey Devils. While that was true, he was never asked - until now.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet is reporting that Zidlicky now has officially waives his NTC to come to the Devils and the trade appears to be imminent.
If/when more details leak...
Known for his desire to stay with the franchise, Stephen Weiss will set a team record Thursday when he plays in his 614th game as a Panther.
Instant Analysis: The Smithson Trade
Right off the top this trade is a strong indication that Patric Hornqvist has received clearance to return to the lineup. It also ind...
The New Jersey Devils added experience to their shaky defense and acquired a leader for their power play in acquiring defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for three players and two draft picks on Friday night. President Lou Lamoriello announced the deal during the second period of the Devils' game with the Vancouver Canucks, saying that defenseman Kurtis Foster,...
Matt Cullen and Erik Christensen scored in the shootout to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.