High-Scoring Panthers Begin Road Trip In Carolina Looking To Fix Leaky Defense

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RALEIGH (CBSMiami) – Getting back on the road may not be a bad thing for the Florida Panthers.

Fresh off a disappointing five-game homestand in which Florida went 1-2-2, the Panthers will play the next three on the road starting Tuesday night in Carolina.

Florida was outscored 26-22 over that five-game stretch at the BB&T Center, which provides a look into the team’s biggest issue this season; keeping the puck out of their own net.

No team in the NHL gives up more goals per game than the Panthers, who surrender a league-worst 4.23.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that if Florida can figure out how to fix their defensive woes, the team is scoring at an impressive pace.

The Panthers are tied for fourth in the league, scoring 3.62 goals per contest.

SHUFFLING LINES

Despite the strong production in the goal-scoring department, Florida head coach Bob Bougher has continued to shuffle his lines in hopes of finding some defensive stability.

Wingers Nick Bjugstad and Connor Brickley moved up to the second line with center Vincent Trocheck during Monday’s practice while Radim Vrbata and Jamie McGinn flanked Jared McCann on the third line.

Vrbata and McGinn have spent most of the season skating with Trocheck but McGinn was swapped with Brickley during Florida’s last game.

TIPPETT SENT DOWN

On Monday the Panthers sent 18-year-old first round pick Owen Tippett back to his junior team in the OHL.

Tippett played seven games with Florida, recording 1 goal on 17 shots while earning a minus-6 on-ice rating.

“Owen was impressive in his time with our club and has a bright future with the Panthers,” said Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon. “This was a tough decision, but we think it’s best for his long-term development.”

LUONGO TO START

Roberto Luongo will start his second consecutive game for the Panthers since returning from a hand injury that kept him sidelined for two weeks.

He made 39 saves during his return, a 5-4 shootout loss to the Rangers on Saturday.

Luongo has started just five games this season, holding a 1-2-1 record to go with a 3.83 goals against average and .901 save percentage.

GOING 5-HOLE

  • Scott Darling will be between the pipes for Carolina. He’s 1-0-2 over his last three starts.
  • Florida has won seven of the last nine meeting with the Hurricanes.
  • Carolina has struggled scoring goals, averaging just 2.58 goals per game which ranks 27th in the NHL.
  • The Hurricanes enter Tuesday’s game having lost six of their last seven games (1-4-2).
  • Luongo’s next win will move him into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list for goaltenders. He is currently tied with Curtis Joseph at 454 victories.
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