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Ducks @ Panthers PREVIEW: Put The Cat Back In The Bag

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The Ducks will face the Florida Panthers for the first time this season.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Game #52

Anaheim Ducks @ Florida Panthers

Friday, February 3rd, 2016 4:30 PM PST

BB&T Center

TV: PRIME

Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com

Your Enemy: Litter Box Cats


The Ducks will head to Sunrise, Florida (suburb of Miami, for those who are geographically challenged) to face the Florida Panthers who are in the midst of a, shall we say, interesting season.

With several injuries to significant players and the controversial firing of head coach Gerard Gallant, the Panthers have found themselves fighting themselves in an effort to reclaim a bit of last season’s success amid early season struggles.

The good news for the Panthers is that they play in the Atlantic Division, not the Metropolitan. As such, they’re only 4 points out of a playoff spot.

Even more good news for Florida is that Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have begun skating with the team. Both players have missed large chunks of the season with injuries. They are not slated to return toe game action until after the bye week, but the fact that they are now skating is a welcome sign.

If the Panthers can keep within striking distance of the Boston Bruins, the additions of Barkov and Huberdeau can fuel this team to a run at a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, the Ducks will look to continue rolling coming off a dominant 5-1 win against Colorado on Tuesday in the first game after the All Star break.

The game was filled with milestones for several players on the Ducks.

Rickard Rakell surpassed his career high in goals with his 21st of the season on Tuesday. The young Swede has developed into a genuine star after proving to everyone that last year was no fluke. With more than two months left in the regular season, Rakell will continue on his quest to become a 30 goal-scorer.

Cam Fowler also established a new career high in goals with his 11th of the season. Fowler has finally lived up to the high expectations the Ducks have had for him every since he won an NHL spot on day one of his professional career during the 2010-2011 season.

Finally, Corey Perry put forth one of his best games of the season and earned his 700th career NHL point, all with the Ducks, on a beautiful feed to Rakell for the second goal of the game against Colorado.

It will be interesting to see how Randy Carlyle utilizes his goaltenders on this trip. Gibson could get the start tonight with Florida being the overall better team this season, while Bernier could go against the floundering Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

As any of the established Ducks reporters will tell you, attempting to get the starting goaltender for a game out of Carlyle is more difficult than trying to get Ryan Getzlaf to shoot the puck more.