National Hockey League
Preview
St. Louis at Florida
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, February 12, 2016
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

Off to the second-best start in franchise history, the Florida Panthers will begin a six-game homestand on Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues. The surprising Panthers, who hold a six-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings atop the Atlantic Division, will face five opponents from the Western Conference on the homestand.

Jaromir Jagr scored his 739th career goal in Tuesday's 7-4 victory at Buffalo to move within two tallies of tying Brett Hull on the all-time list. The soon-to-be 44-year-old Jagr will be without linemate Aleksander Barkov, who along with defenseman Erik Gudbranson is expected to sit out both games this weekend. St. Louis' offensive woes continued in a 2-1 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday that capped a three-game homestand and left coach Ken Hitchcock flustered. "We all talk about line combinations and chemistry - you've got to play harder than this," Hitchcock said. "A lot harder than this."

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Florida

ABOUT THE BLUES (30-17-9): Jaden Schwartz, who scored a career-best 28 goals last season, will return to the lineup after missing 49 games due to a fractured left ankle and looks to provide a boost for an offense that had managed one goal or less in five of the past six games. "We have some tough times scoring right now," Blues leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko said. "I think the main part is to stay focused, be close friends in the locker room and success will come." Brian Elliott, who will make his 13th start in a row, has yielded nine goals in his last six outings.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (32-16-6): Florida's No. 2 line of Vincent Trocheck, Jussi Jokinen and Reilly Smith continues to deliver superb production, combining for three goals and eight points in the romp over Buffalo. Smith has six goals and 11 points in his last nine games, Jokinen has 12 points in his last eight and Trocheck has five tallies and 11 points in his last seven contests. "Obviously, the last two months playing together we really have chemistry going with us," Jokinen said. "We all can shoot, pass and make plays. It's been really fun to play with those guys."

OVERTIME

1. Florida's Roberto Luongo is tied with fellow G Glenn Hall (906 games) for sixth place on the career for the most appearances at his position.

2. The Blues had a six-game win streak in the series snapped with a 3-1 home loss to the Panthers on Dec. 1.

3. Florida is 11-1-1 in its last 13 games at home.

PREDICTION: Panthers 3, Blues 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
St. Louis 30-17-5-4 L1 17-9-3-1 13-8-2-3 2-2-0-0 28-15-5-4 12-6-1-2
Florida 32-16-5-1 W1 17-7-3-0 15-9-2-1 2-3-0-0 30-13-5-1 12-6-0-0
Last Meeting
St. Louis Florida
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
12/1/15 FLA 3 STL 1 30 20 0-3 23 29 0-1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
St. Louis D. Backes 1
Florida D. MacKenzie 2
Goals Player  
St. Louis D. Backes 1
Florida D. MacKenzie 2
Assists Player  
St. Louis R. Fabbri 1
Florida A. Barkov 1
Saves Player  
St. Louis J. Allen 12
Florida R. Luongo 29
Season
Total Points Player  
St. Louis V. Tarasenko 54
Florida J. Jokinen 42
Goals Player  
St. Louis V. Tarasenko 30
Florida R. Smith 19
Assists Player  
St. Louis A. Steen 31
Florida J. Jokinen 29
Saves Player  
St. Louis J. Allen 882
Florida R. Luongo 1226
Quickchart Matchup
St. Louis Off vs  Florida Def
2.38 GF
2.26 GA
29.4 Shots
30.1 Shots
32 PP
32 PK
Florida Off vs  St. Louis Def
2.78 GF
2.32 GA
28 Shots
29.8 Shots
32 PP
26 PK