Published Friday, 14 September 2012
The Panthers and Giants are set to go head-to-head. (© Nottingham Panthers/Belfast Giants)
The reigning Elite League champions are coming off the back of a disappointing Challenge Cup defeat at the hands of the Braehead Clan and will be looking to bounce back against the prowling Panthers.
"I expect to see a very different team this weekend than the team that faced Braehead last Saturday," Giants head coach Doug Christiansen said.
The games will be the first two in the league this season for the Giants, while the Nottingham side already have a 5-1 win over Dundee Stars under their belt.
The hosts, last year's Play-off and Challenge Cup winners, will also be strengthened by the arrival in their camp of former Giant Brandon Benedict.
This is as big as any weekend we will have all season.
"It's a tough place to start the league, but we know that it doesn't matter if it's September or March - these points are vital for either team," Christiansen added.
His counterpart, Panthers coach Corey Neilson told his team's official website they were ready for the weekend's action.
"We know Doug will have his boys fired up. Teams like to play their best against us in our barn, it all adds to the pressure and we thrive on it!" he said.
The Giants are coming off the most successful league campaign in Elite League history and with that success came a long list of departing players who caught the eyes of teams throughout Europe.
But Christiansen is still expecting to have another team that can chase silverware this season.
"The price of success is players will move on. We have another group of talented players that want to win and are heading into this year's league as defending champions," he said.
"We have no intention of giving anyone else our title."