Panthers at Canucks
The Florida Panthers ignited a sputtering power play and, lo and behold, the team has won five of six following the All-Star break. The surging Panthers would love to continue that trend on Valentine's Day as they face off versus the Vancouver Canucks in the second contest of their five-game road trip on Wednesday.
"We're going in the right direction right now. ... We're going to need to win a lot of games," said Vincent Trocheck, who pushed his team-leading goal total to 21 after recording his first career hat trick in Monday's 7-5 triumph over Edmonton. The 24-year-old Trocheck scored twice on the power play during the third period for Florida, which is 7-for-20 with the man advantage during their last six games after going 4-for-37 in their previous 13. Like the Panthers, the Canucks benefited from an unexpected offensive explosion in their last outing with a 6-0 rout of Dallas on Sunday. That season high-tying goal total matched the sum of their output during their previous four-game losing streak, a skid that includes a 3-1 setback at Florida on Feb. 6.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Florida, Sportsnet (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (24-23-6): Longtime Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo plans to talk with the training staff on Wednesday if he's ready to make his return from an absence of two-plus months due to a groin injury. While Luongo's participation is in doubt, Aleksander Barkov has come to play in February with his two-goal performance versus Vancouver highlighting his five-point stretch (three goals, two assists) over his last five games. Fellow forward Jonathan Huberdeau has bolstered his team-leading totals in assists (35) and points (53) with 12 and 21, respectively, in his last 19 games.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (22-28-6): Jacob Markstrom lit quite the fire after openly questioning both his performance as well as that of his teammates following a recent loss to Carolina. The 28-year-old Swede led by example, turning aside all 30 shots he faced from the Stars for his second shutout of the season. Markus Granlund, who scored his team's lone goal versus Florida, is in need of surgery on his injured ankle, coach Travis Green told reporters on Tuesday.
1. Vancouver LW Thomas Vanek, who played part of one season in Sunrise, has 34 points (21 goals, 13 assists) in 41 career games versus Florida.
2. Florida's Aaron Ekblad has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last 10 games while fellow D Keith Yandle has eight (two goals, six assists) in his past six.
3. The Canucks turned to Utica of the American Hockey League to recall D Philip Holm, who has 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 42 games with the Comets this season.