Preview: Everblades Face Greenville on Teddy Bear Toss Night
ESTERO, Fla. - With a chance to match their longest winning streak (4) and the ECHL's longest point streak (11) of the year, the Florida Everblades (13-5-4-0, 30 pts.) square off against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (9-13-3-0, 21 pts.) on Saturday night in the finale of a six-game homestand.
Game 23: Everblades vs. Greenville
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Hertz Arena
Social: Twitter | #GRNvsFLA
Last Time Out
Florida scored twice in the first eight minutes to set the tone, and Jamie Phillips turned in an individual season-high with 36 saves to help lead the 'Blades to a 4-2 win over Greenville in the series opener on Friday. Special teams played a key role in the win. Florida went a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill, including three separate five-on-three penalty kills, and John McCarron scored the game-winning goal on the power play in the 'Blades third straight win.
Players to Watch
Nathan Perkovich (FLA) - The Canton, Michigan, native has the most pro experience of any player on the 'Blades roster and has tabbed three goals in his last two games. He has an empty-net goal in each of his last two contests to seal wins over Jacksonville and Greenville on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
Johno May (GRN) - Johno May leads Greenville with 12 goals and tabbed two more on Friday night for his fourth multi-goal game of the season. He has posted a team-leading eight multi-point games this year.
Saturday is the second of 10 meetings between the two teams this season and the 91st all-time matchup. Florida holds a 44-31-15 record against Greenville and posted a 5-0-0-2 record against the Swamp Rabbits last season. After dropping the first two meetings last year in shootout fashion, the 'Blades then won the final five meetings. Florida went 5-0-0-1 at home against Greenville last season.
Florida's 10-game point streak is the longest active streak in the league and the second-longest total in the ECHL this year. Only the Toledo Walleye's stretch of 11 consecutive games with a point from Oct. 20-Nov. 17 is longer.
The current point streak is nearing the longest such streak in two seasons. Last season, Florida had points in 12 straight games, which was the longest point streak of the year.
Florida scored first on Friday and is one of just two teams in the 27-team ECHL that has not lost in regulation when scoring first this year, with a 7-0-3-0 record in such games. Tulsa (9-0-1-1) is the only other team without a regulation loss in games it has scored first.
Not only did the Everblades score first on Friday, but Blake Winiecki's tally exactly one minute into the game was the fastest goal scored by Florida to start a game this year. Tommy Thompson had previously held the distinction for the fastest opening goal with his tally 1:47 into the first period of a 4-1 win over South Carolina on Nov. 28.
In killing off all seven opposing power plays on Friday, Florida matched its best performance of the season on the penalty kill. The 'Blades also killed off all seven opposing power plays in a 4-1 win over South Carolina on Nov. 28. Florida leads the league with a 95.0 percent (38-for-40) penalty kill on home ice this year.
Hertz Arena has proved to be a tough venue to play in for opposing teams this season. Entering Saturday, Florida has lost just once in regulation on home ice - a home-opening 1-0 loss to Norfolk on Oct. 19 - and has points in nine straight home games since then. Only the Cincinnati Cyclones, which have points in 12 straight tilts at home dating back to Oct. 13, have a longer point streak at home this year.
The series with Greenville features a stark contrast when it comes to success in the second period. Florida leads the league with a +14 goal differential (28gf-13ga) in the second period this year, while Greenville is last in the league in that category and has been outscored by 22 goals (18gf-40ga) in the middle frame.
Greenville has fared better at home this season than on the road and has scored an average of just 2.23 goals per road tilt while allowing more than four goals per road game. The Swamp Rabbits are 5-5-2 at home and 4-8-1 on the road.
The Swamp Rabbits yielded their 28th power-play goal of the season on Friday night and rank last in the league in penalty kill conversion rate in road games at 71.7 percent (38-for-53). Greenville has the second-lowest conversion rate overall at 74.1 percent (80-for-108).
Florida's Phillips has fared well at home this season and has earned victories in all five of his starts. The Michigan Tech product has a 1.60 GAA and a .947 save percentage at Hertz Arena and has allowed two goals or fewer in each game. Entering Saturday night, Phillips is riding a three-game win streak, the longest for a 'Blades netminder this year.
In putting up 48 shots on goal on Wednesday in a 3-2 win over the Jacksonville Icemen, Florida set a new team season-high for a game this year. That shots on goal total was the 'Blades highest since they put up 53 shots on goal in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Swamp Rabbits on Feb. 2, 2018.
In addition to blitzing Jacksonville with shots on Wednesday, Florida was also strong in suppressing the Icemen offensive attack. The 'Blades permitted a season-low 18 shots on goal to eclipse their previous season-low of 22 shots on goal against.
Florida starts a five-game stretch on the road with a two-game set in Greenville on Thursday and Friday before traveling to Jacksonville for a Saturday night matchup with the Icemen.
Single-game tickets for all regular season home games are on sale now!
Ticket packages for the 2018-19 season are still on sale! Become part of the Everblades Family with a Partial Season or a Flexible Voucher Package that fits your schedule and budget! All Ticket & Voucher Packages provide savings and special benefits!
SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new ticket package for the 2018-19 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford's Garage and an Everblades T-Shirt!
Private Arena Tours are also available to select your 2018-19 season seats! Call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825 to schedule your tour today!
Images from this story
Florida Everblades' Teddy Bear Toss Night aftermath
(Kevin Bires Photography)
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ECHL Stories from December 8, 2018
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