Andrew Brunette spent the evenings of the Florida Panthers’ All-Star break keeping tabs on what else was going on across the league.

While the Panthers had two weeks off for the 2022 NHL All-Star Game, some teams have been playing since Feb. 7. A game Saturday amounted to appointment viewing for the interim coach. The Carolina Hurricanes headed west to face the Minnesota Wild in a meeting between Stanley Cup contenders.

They also happen to be Florida’s next two opponents. “I shouldn’t have done it,” he said with a smirk. “It kind of made for some restless nights.” A daunting three-game road trip to start the second half of the season begins Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Raleigh, North Carolina, with first place in the Eastern Conference on the line.

The Panthers (32-10-5) hold a two-point edge on the Hurricanes (32-11-3) and even have the edge in points percentage after Carolina dropped three of of four to start the second half.

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