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Florida Panthers Play Home Opener Tonight On WQAM

Alex Donno
October 11, 2018 - 10:17 am

After earning a tough road point in Tampa Bay on Saturday, the Florida Panthers are ready to skate on their home ice for the first time this season. 

Thursday at 7:00 PM, the Panthers will welcome in the Columbus Blue Jackets to the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Columbus has already played three games on the young season, boasting a 2-1-0 record. 

Florida enters the matchup 0-0-1. Against the Lightning, the Panthers managed 43 shots on net but had a tough time beating goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Panthers defenseman Jacob MacDonald scored his first NHL goal in the opening period (on his first NHL shot in his first NHL game), but Florida would surrender the equalizer in the third. The Panthers played a strong overtime but would go on to fall in the shootout. 

After four days between games, head coach Bob Boughner and his players are itching to get on the ice. 

“It’s a long time in between games,” said Boughner. “It’s easy to lose focus in practice. You want to try to have a good, sharp practice the day before the game. We were a little sloppy this morning, not because the guys were off but because we had so many practices. We’re excited to play.”

Newly-announted team captain Aleksander Barkov will wear the "C" on home ice for the first time in the regular season. The 23 year old recorded a career-high 78 points last season.

It's the 25th anniversary season for the Panthers. Select players and staff from the inaugural 1993-1994 team will be in attendance. Former players in attendance are: Len Barrie, Jesse Belanger, Brian Benning, Mike Foligno, Greg Hawgood, Mike Hough, Jamie Leach, Patrick Lebeau, Bill Lindsay, Rob Niedermayer, Brent Severyn, Brian Skrudland and John Vanbiesbrouck.

You can listen to Panthers - Blue Jackets tonight on 560 WQAM, with coverage starting at 6:45pm. Faceoff is set for 7:00 from the BB&T Center.