FLORIDA PANTHERSThe Panthers’ eight-game point streak to start the season came to an end with a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Now at 6-1-2, they were the last team in the NHL to suffer a regulation loss.
Florida has done some shuffling at the bottom of its roster over the last week, with Mason Marchment and Noah Juulsen, both on two-way contracts, making their Panthers debuts. They also recalled veteran forward Scott Wilson from AHL Syracuse and assigned Aleksi Heponiemi, who scored the overtime winner in his NHL debut last week, to the Crunch.
We made our first visit to south Florida to take in the Panthers’ 2-1 win over Nashville on Friday.
SYRACUSE CRUNCHThe AHL season began over the weekend and the Panthers’ prospects in Syracuse, who would be playing for the Checkers in a normal season, helped defeat the Utica Comets 6-1 on Saturday.
Rookie Henry Bowlby, an undrafted forward who signed with the Panthers out of Harvard University in August, scored a goal in his pro debut. Grigori Denisenko and Riley Stillman each had one assist, while goaltender Samuel Montembeault made 32 saves for the victory.
GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITSGreenville won two of three games last week to improve its record to 8-4-7. That's good for fourth in the East, a nice place to be with the ECHL announcing earlier in the week that the top four teams in each conference will qualify for the playoffs.
Forward Greg Meireles, who the Checkers signed to an AHL contract in October, picked up ECHL Rookie of the Month honors for January after scoring 11 points (3g, 8a) in nine games. He is now one point off the league lead for first-year players.
"Meireles has been a consistent spark plug in our lineup all season," said Swamp Rabbits Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Andrew Lord. "His skating ability and quick release make him a dynamic, young player."
Two-time ECHL Goaltender of the Week Ryan Bednard picked up his second shutout of the season on Sunday, tying him for most in the league. Charlotte native Bryan Moore is no longer with the Swamp Rabbits as the Wichita Thunder acquired him via trade last Wednesday.
🚨 WINNER WINNER 🚨— Greenville Swamp Rabbits (@SwampRabbits) February 3, 2021
Swamp Rabbits forward and @FlaPanthers 2019 draft pick Greg Meireles has been selected @ECHL Rookie of the Month for January! Congratulate him 👇
READ MORE ➡️ https://t.co/0cL4BoxmeE pic.twitter.com/YJ1XPGvMZ8
IN OTHER NEWS...
- After backing up the Carolina Hurricanes' last few games with Petr Mrazek set to miss extended time after undergoing thumb surgery, Alex Nedeljkovic will make his season debut against the Blue Jackets in his home state of Ohio tonight. Coincidentally, his NHL debut in January of 2017 was also in Columbus.
- Martin Necas who was enjoying a nice start to his season, has missed the last two games after suffering an undisclosed injury on Thursday. Coach Rod Brind’Amour expects him to be out “for a little while.”
- Former Checkers Warren Foegele and Brock McGinn continue to contribute offensively for Carolina. Foegele, who missed some time due to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, has three points (2g, 1a) in his last three games, while McGinn has chipped in three goals in his last four.
Tic - tac - Brock pic.twitter.com/AH9i1Y58Nh— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 7, 2021
- The Henderson Silver Knights made former Checker Patrick Brown the first captain in team history. Former Checkers teammate Ryan Murphy is an alternate captain.
- Former Checker Justin Peters will begin his post-playing career as a goalie coach with the AHL’s Belleville Senators. Peters played 71 games for the Checkers from 2011-14 and had spent the last three seasons in playing in various European leagues.
The #BellevilleSens have announced the additions of Ben Sexton as Assistant Coach and Justin Peters as Goaltending Coach ahead of the 2021 season. #fortheBhttps://t.co/NL62X1lqFQ pic.twitter.com/Z3gQGuEFjx— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) February 5, 2021
- A handful of former Checkers played their first two games with the Chicago Wolves over the weekend. Defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald is tied for the team lead with three points (2g, 1a) in two games. Joey Keane has one assist, with Stelio Mattheos, Spencer Smallman and Jeremy Helvig all seeing game time. The Wolves loaned former Checkers forward Colin Markison to the Texas Stars, one of his former teams.