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PREVIEW: 'Blades finish out road trip in Kalamazoo

Saturday, January 18th
PREVIEW: 'Blades finish out road trip in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO. Mich. — The Florida Everblades (24-11-2-2, 52 pts.) wrap up a season-high five-game road trip with a Saturday night matchup against the Kalamazoo Wings (13-19-4-0, 30 pts.) at the Wings Event Center, the second meeting in four days between the two teams.  

VITALS:Game 40: Everblades at Kalamazoo WingsWhen: 7 p.m. ETWhere: Wings Event CenterWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | Instagram

Last time outBlake Winiecki scored twice and Ken Appleby made 26 saves to lift the Everblades to a 4-2 win over the Indy Fuel on Thursday night in Indianapolis. Trailing by a goal after the first period, Florida scored four of the final five goals of the game to earn the win in the first meeting between the teams at Indiana Farmers Coliseum since Dec. 5, 2014. Derek Sheppard (2a) and Logan Roe (2a) also had multi-point games, while Justin Auger and Patrick McCarron chipped in the other goals for Florida. RECAP

Series At A GlanceSaturday marks the 24th all-time matchup between Florida and Kalamazoo. Prior to Wednesday, the two teams hadn't met since April 1, 2017, but will now play for the second time in four days. The 'Blades have an all-time record of 15-3-5 against the Wings since they began play in the ECHL in the 2009-10 campaign. Florida won two out of three games in the most recent series from March 29-April 1, 2017, a series that took place in Estero. Florida topped the Wings on Wednesday, 6-3, and leads the series in Kalamazoo with a record of 7-2-1-2. The two sides have played in Kalamazoo just three times in the last five seasons. 

Players to WatchKen Appleby (FLA) - The fifth-year pro has carried a majority of the workload since Cam Johnson was sidelined with an injury in early December. Dating back to a start against Utah on Nov. 27, Appleby has appeared in 19 of the last 22 games, with 17 starts in that stretch. He ranks second in the league with 16 wins and sits tied for eighth with a 2.70 goals-against average. 

Justin Kovacs (KAL) - Kovacs, who is also a fifth-year pro, is in the midst of one of his best offensive stretches of the season. The native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, has notched a point in three straight games and has five points (3g, 2a) over his last two contests. Kovacs has posted seven of his 19 points this year in his last five games and has four goals and three assists in that stretch. 

Powering UpAfter tabbing just seven power-play markers in the first 26 games of the season, Florida has now notched nine power-play goals in its last 13 games. Florida began that stretch with a power-play conversion rate of 7.4% on Dec. 18. Entering Saturday, the 'Blades power play is now converting at 12.5% and has gone 9-for-33 (27.3%) in the last 13 games. 

Double the FunFlorida scored twice on three power plays on Thursday, marking the first time this season that it has tabbed two power-play goals in the same game. Florida last scored multiple power-play goals in one game on April 5, 2019, in a 3-2 overtime win against the Orlando Solar Bears. The 'Blades put up multiple power-play strikes in 16 games last season, which included a stretch of four straight games from March 6-13, 2019. 

Shots FrenzyIn outshooting Indy on Thursday, Florida has now outshot its opponent in 13 straight games. That is a new team season-high for consecutive games of holding the edge in shots on goal. From Nov. 2-27, Florida outshot its foe in 11 straight games before being outshot by Utah, 34-25, on Nov. 29 in a 6-3 win. The Everblades have been outshot in a league-low seven games this season. Tulsa is the only other team that has been outshot less than 10 times.

Next UpFollowing next week's All-Star break, the 'Blades resume play with a pair of home games next weekend, starting with a Friday night matchup against Greenville. 

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