SUNRISE (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Florida Panthers have failed to take advantage of a stretch that has them playing eight of nine games at home, going 1-2-3 over their first six at BB&T Center — with the lone victory coming in a shootout in the opener of the string.
Florida hopes to turn things around and end its five-game home slide when it hosts the Nashville Predators on Friday.
The Panthers have scored more than two goals just once during the skid and were held to one in Wednesday’s loss to visiting Winnipeg — the first tally of the season by Greg McKegg, who notched only two in his first 39 NHL contests and had gone 15 games without a point.
Nashville kicked off its three-game road trip Thursday with its fourth consecutive win away from home, a 6-1 rout of Tampa Bay.
Colton Sissons halted a 12-game goal-scoring drought with his first career hat trick for the Predators, who have outscored their opponents 16-3 during their road winning streak.
Filip Forsberg hopes to remain hot against Florida, as he has scored a goal in six of his last eight games.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TVA, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), FSN Florida
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (17-14-7): Nashville had Anthony Bitetto back on the blue line Thursday as the defenseman returned from a 15-game absence because of an upper-body injury and recorded an assist in just more than 15 minutes of ice time. James Neal, however, was not in the lineup against the Lightning as he also is dealing with an upper-body ailment. The 29-year-old Neal leads the team with 14 goals but is in a five-game drought and has tallied in just one of his last nine contests — a two-goal performance Dec. 20 at New Jersey.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (16-15-8): With second place on the all-time points list already secured, Jaromir Jagr continued to improve his standing in career assists, recording No. 1,136 against the Jets to pass Paul Coffey for fifth in NHL history. That could be as high as the 44-year-old Czech gets, however, as he trails Ray Bourque by 33 for the fourth spot. Roberto Luongo remains tied with Terry Sawchuk (447) for fifth place on the all-time wins list and is seven away from matching Curtis Joseph for fourth.
1. Panthers C Seth Griffith, who has yet to record a goal this season, suffered a concussion Wednesday and is not expected to play against Nashville.
2. Predators captain Mike Fisher leads the club with six power-play goals and is looking to reach double digits for just the second time in his career (10 in 2009-10 with Ottawa).
3. Florida recalled C Jared McCann, who registered a goal and two assists in 17 games with the club earlier this season, from Springfield of the American Hockey League.
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