Weekend Preview

Panthers v Steelers
How nice is it to be going into a Sheffield game at the NIC that has had very little hype? Even with minimal marketing it will still be close to a sell out as Panthers aim to win their tenth home game in a row and fifth succesive game against the seventh placed Steelers.
Steelers are hoping to give a debut to new signing Jonathan Zion, who replaces the injured Rod Sarich in defence. Panthers are unlikely to have new signing Jay Henderson in their line up and with Mario Larocque released the tenth import spot should be a choice between Johan Molin and Nick Toneys.
The game should be the usual blood and thunder affair between these two rivals, but as has been shown in previous encounters this season, should the game become physical it will give the Panthers an advantage as they have far more muscle than the Steelers. The Steelers only hope will be on the powerplay, where they currently have the best record in the league. It will be imperative that Panthers keep their trips to the box at a minimum. Apart from special teams the Panthers are superior to the visitors in every department, and with Panthers still very much in the title race you would expect them to come out of the game victorious. As always in these games though, nothing is certain.

Blaze v Panthers
Sunday night sees a huge game at the Coventry Skydome as the Panthers travel to take on the league leading Blaze. However, with Blaze taking on Cardiff Devils in Wales on Saturday there is a possibility that Panthers could travel to the Skydome on top of the pile.
The normally reliable Blaze have wobbled of late, losing three out of their last six, including two losses to Edinburgh Capitals which reduced their games in hand over the Panthers from four to two. Coventry’s recent formed has once again ignited Panthers and Belfast Giants challenge, and with the Blaze looking shaky there has never been a better time for Panthers to take the points in Coventry. Either way, this weekend could have a huge bearing as to where this season’s Elite League title ends up.

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