Driedger gets third shutout as Panthers beat Lightning 4-0
Chris Driedger stopped 30 shots to record his third shutout of the season, Juho Lammikko scored a short-handed goal, and the Florida Panthers secured home-ice advantage for the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the regular season finale for both clubs.
Chemistry 101: Panthers top pairing of Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar become one of NHL’s best
One of the most consistent elements of the surging Panthers has been the team’s top defensive pairing of Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar. Examining just 5-on-5 play, Ekblad and Weegar have combined for 17 points (4-13-17) and a plus-4 on-ice rating while holding nearly identical Corsi For Percentages (53.9 for Weegar, 53.8 for Ekblad). “I thought I had it with Brian Campbell, and it was great,” Ekblad said. “You can tell they’re having fun and they’re both playing great,” said Panthers alternate captain Keith Yandle. “(Ekblad and Weegar) remind me of those two guys, and you know their story was spectacular.
Panthers 56-game schedule released, begins Jan. 14 against Dallas at BB&T Center
Florida Panthers' Noel Acciari celebrates with MacKenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. SUNRISE, Fla. – The NHL’s condensed schedule for the 2020-21 season was released on Wednesday, and as expected, it looks a little different. For the Florida Panthers, that means getting quickly acquainted with several new division rivals. Bunched together are two-game sets against each divisional opponent, starting on Jan. 14 and 15 with back-to-back home games against the Dallas Stars to open the season. That’s basically how the entire 56-game schedule is laid out for the Panthers, which can be seen below:Florida Panthers 20-21 schedule.
MacKenzie Weegar ‘couldn’t be happier’ to sign 3-year deal, likes gritty direction Panthers are heading
SUNRISE, Fla. – November has been a pretty good month for Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. It was no secret that Weegar wanted to remain with the Panthers, the team that selected him in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Draft. “I know (Aaron Ekblad) is down there and he’s saying (Panthers strength and conditioning coach Mike Donoghue) is back there working with those guys,” Weegar said. The Panthers also filled a vacancy on the coaching staff, hiring former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson as an assistant. “Ulf is a knowledgeable and experienced coach who will be a great addition to the Panthers,” Zito said in a statement released by the team.
Defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, Panthers agree on three-year contract extension
SUNRISE, Fla. – MacKenzie Weegar wanted to stay in South Florida. Bill Zito wanted to keep Weegar in a Florida Panthers sweater. Zito and the Panthers have signed Weegar, a restricted free agent, to a three-year contract extension, avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 8. Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar of the Florida Panthers. (Getty Images)“I think he’s a wonderful player,” Zito said of Weegar when speaking to the media in early October.
Expect Panthers to lean heavily on defensive pairing of Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar in Qualifying Round and beyond
Just ask Florida Panthers defensemen Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar. During the first 20 games of the regular season, and the final 16, no defensive pair was on the ice together more than Weegar and Ekblad. It quickly became clear who was at the top of the defensive pairing hierarchy on the Panthers bench. MacKenzie Weegar of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck during a game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on February 25, 2020. "I don't mind playing afternoon games," Quenneville said with a smile.
10 Observations: After 10 games, Panthers progressing nicely in Quenneville's system
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson skates past as Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau celebrates with teammates after scoring during the third period on Oct. 22, 2019. With the Florida Panthers reaching the 10-game mark of the season Thursday night in Calgary, it seemed like a good time for a new 10 Observations. Michael Reaves/Getty Images Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers prepares for a face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes on October 08, 2019. Michael Reaves/Getty Images Evgenii Dadonov of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes on October 08, 2019. We'll end this 10 Observations with some knowledge from Florida Panthers playoff legend Bill Lindsay.
Dynamic Duo: Quenneville may be on to something with Ekblad-Weegar pairing
In the time since, the players have been busy learning a new defensive system, implemented by head coach Joel Quenneville. "I think (in) all zones, we're probably more effective in knowing how we want to check," Quenneville said Wednesday when asked how the process is going. An emerging duo that skated together during the Panthers' recent three-game road trip is Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar. It's been a lot of fun," Weegar said. They make quite an unlikely duo; the first overall pick in 2014 (Ekblad) and the sixth-from-last pick in 2013 (Weegar).