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PREVIEW: 'Blades meet Swamp Rabbits again to start weekend

Friday, January 10th
PREVIEW: 'Blades meet Swamp Rabbits again to start weekend

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Florida Everblades (22-9-2-2, 48 pts.) start a season-high five-game road trip with a Friday night matchup against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (17-18-1-1, 36 pts.) at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, the Everblades' fifth game in the last eight days. 

VITALS:Game 36: Everblades at Greenville Swamp RabbitsWhen: 7:05 p.m. ETWhere: Bon Secours Wellness ArenaWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | Instagram

Last time outNathan Todd netted a hat trick and finished with four points, and the Brampton Beast scored three times in the opening period to earn an 8-2 win over the Everblades on Tuesday at Hertz Arena. Playing its fourth game in five days, Florida fell in a 4-0 hole by the halfway point of the second period and couldn't recover, as its season-high winning streak of six games came to an end. Justin Auger and Mike Neville had the tallies for the Everblades in their first loss since Dec. 20. RECAP

Series At A GlanceFriday is the fifth of 11 meetings between the Everblades and Swamp Rabbits this season. Florida has picked up wins in each of the first two matchups in Greenville this season, shutting out the Swamp Rabbits, 3-0, on Nov. 17, before earning a 5-4 overtime win this past Sunday. The 'Blades hold an all-time record of 56-32-15 against Greenville. Although Greenville snapped Florida's 16-game winning streak in the series with a 5-3 win on Dec. 20, the 'Blades still have points in 20 of the last 21 matchups (18-1-2) with the Swamp Rabbits.

Players to WatchBlake Winiecki (FLA) - Celebrating his 26th birthday on Friday, Winiecki has excelled lately for Florida and carries a five-game point streak into the matchup with Greenville. The Lakeville, Minnesota, native has posted two multi-point games in that five-game stretch and has a goal and six helpers in his streak. After finishing second on the team in scoring as a rookie last season, Winiecki is tied for the team lead in goals (14) and points (32) this season. 

Patrick Bajkov (GVL) - The second-year pro is tied for the team lead with three goals in head-to-head tilts against the Everblades and scored twice in Sunday's 5-4 overtime loss to Florida. Bajkov notched just four goals in 33 games as a rookie in the 2018-19 campaign, but he has already quadrupled that total in only four more games this season. He's second on the Swamp Rabbits in goals (16) and third in points (26). 

Shorthanded ScoringWith Neville's shorthanded strike on Tuesday, Florida has now notched six shorthanded goals this year. That total is tied for sixth in the league this season and is just three goals off the league-leading Worcester Railers, which have nine shorties this year. With 23 shorthanded strikes since the start of the 2018-19 season, the 'Blades are tied with the Orlando Solar Bears for the most shorthanded goals in the last two seasons. 

That was OddThe 'Blades last contest against Greenville was a strange game for special teams. The two teams combined for only one penalty in the game, and the two total penalty minutes were the fewest combined penalty minutes in any game Florida has taken part in this season. Before that game, Florida had not gone without a penalty kill in any game over the last two seasons. The lowest opposing power play total over the last two campaigns came on Oct. 13, 2018, when the 'Blades killed off one power play in a 3-2 win in Newfoundland.

Bouncing Back StrongLooking back in recent team history, the 'Blades have responded well to tough home losses. Prior to Tuesday, Florida had not allowed more than six goals in a home game since March 1, 2019, a 7-2 loss to Orlando. However, Florida followed that loss with its longest winning streak of last season, as it won eight straight games from March 2-16. The last time the 'Blades permitted more than seven goals — an 8-5 home setback to Orlando on March 17, 2018 — they then won their final 10 games of the regular season. 

Next UpFlorida wraps up a stretch of six games in nine days with its third tilt against South Carolina in that nine-day stretch. Faceoff is set for 6:05 p.m. on Saturday at North Charleston Coliseum. 

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