Five Takeaways from Panthers’ Game 3 loss to Bruins

SUNRISE – The Panthers-Bruins series shifted to South Florida for Game 3 on Friday night. 


After a 6-3 loss at home on Wednesday, Boston returned the favor tonight at FLA Live Arena, taking down Florida in a 4-2 win.


Here’s the takeaways.

Florida fell asleep in the second period

After a fairly even opening frame, The Panthers trailed by a goal entering the second period thanks to a Taylor Hall shot that cleanly beat Alex Lyon.


It was a one shot game going into the second frame – however the Panthers only got four.


Florida’s best scoring period of the regular season was the second. They found the back of the net 101 times in the middle frame.


The Panthers came out of the break flat. They couldn’t generate any momentum going forward while the Bruins controlled the tempo.


Boston doubled their lead in the period off of Charlie Coyle’s first goal of the playoffs.


Florida was lucky to only be down by two entering the third.


Alex Lyon’s night ends early – Sergei Bobrovsky makes 2023 playoff debut

Florida’s goaltender Alex Lyon didn’t have the best of starts to his night. Just 2:26 into the first, a quick shot by Taylor Hall beat Lyon up high, giving Boston an early lead on the road.


Lyon was able to shake off the early goal against and get back into a rhythm with multiple cross crease stops on the Bruins. 


Florida’s offense was non-existent until the last five minutes of the game, while Boston kept piling on the chances. Lyon kept the came close for as long as he could, but after David Pastrnak beat him cleanly 8:32 into the third, Lyon’s night would come to an end.


“He’s played heavy pressure games and a lot of them,” Maurice said. “It was not a critique of Alex’s game (pulling him), it was if we are going to come back in this game it’s not because our goalie’s going to bail us out, it’s going to be because we are going to get a lot more action then we had, so what the hell.”


Paul Maurice switched to Sergei Bobrovsky, who started the majority of Florida’s games this season, but has not seen the ice this postseason. 


Bobrovsky finished the game with a goal against and eight saves. 


Florida still can’t score on the power play

In what is becoming a repeat of last season’s first round, Florida is three games into the playoffs without a power play goal.


Dating back to last season, Florida has scored just one power play goal in the playoffs, and have not scored a first round power play goal since 2021.


Florida went 0/2 tonight on the power play – pushing them to 0/7 in the series.


Sasha Barkov quiet offensively 

The Panthers captain has been quiet this series, too quiet for the skill he has.


Entering Game 3 he had just one assist and one shot on goal. 


Tonight it was much of the same story for him in the first 50 minutes of the game.


All of the Panthers lacked the drive that they showed Wednesday night in Boston for the majority of the game.


But it was clear that Barkov wasn’t making the impact you’d expect him to make.


Barkov didn’t get his shots towards the net until late in the game and he didn’t get on the score sheet until Florida’s last goal of the game with the goalie pulled. 


“It’ll be a five man game always, find the right combinations,” Maurice said about getting Barkov going. “I’m not worried about how many shots he gets there. When you’re not generating offense you’re looking for those kinds of players. Coach has to find the right combination.”


Through the first three games, Barkov has two assists, four shots and is a -1.


Boston came out hard

It was no surprise to see the Bruins come out of the gates strong after their performance in Game 2. 


After getting completely dominated by Florida in the third the previous game, the Bruins looked like the Presidents’ Trophy winners. 


They scored all of their four goals tonight even strength while outshooting the Panthers 35-31.


Until the last five minutes of the third, which had Florida throw everything towards Linus Ullmark in a last ditch effort to get back in the game, Boston didn’t look phased all night.


The Bruins played well defensively in front of their goalie, had another outstanding night on the penalty kill and followed their defensive efforts with offensive results.


Boston was clearly the better team tonight. Florida needs to respond on Sunday — otherwise they will be facing a 3-1 series deficit at the TD Garden.

Five Takeaways from Panthers’ Game 2 win over Bruins

Trailing 1-0 in the series, the Florida Panthers returned to the TD Garden in an attempt to even things up before they make their return to Sunrise. 


The return of Sam Bennett was instrumental for the Panthers tonight as they were able to bolster the forward depth and comfortably take down the Bruins tonight in a 6-3 win, evening up the series at 1-1.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways.

Playoff Sam Bennett is back

Sam Bennett last played March 20 in Detroit – almost a month to the day. 


The Panthers received great news today when it was announced that Bennett would be in the lineup.


The 26-year-old forward has had quite the success in his playoff career, putting up 27 points in 45 career playoff games ahead of this one. 


Bennett’s game is made for the playoffs and it was on full display tonight.

He was one of, if not the most noticeable Panther on the forecheck. He didn’t miss the opportunity to land a hit or put pressure on the Bruins defenders.

Bennett’s tenacity eventually led to the first goal of the game, where he slipped the puck, and himself, past Linus Ullmark to give Florida a 1-0 lead.


He once again fit perfectly alongside Matthew Tkachuk on line 2, and the old Calgary pals made sure to fill in the stat sheet tonight. 


Brandon Montour scores… twice

Enough can’t be said about Brandon Montour’s record-breaking offensive season.


Florida’s top point-producing defenseman showed NHL fans tonight why he had 73 points this season.


Montour broke the 2-2 tie early into the third period, rifling a shot past Ullmark to give Florida the lead.


12 minutes later, Montour put a stamp on the game with his second goal, putting Florida up 5-2 with under 10 minutes to play in regulation.


Montour finished the night with two goals in 22 minutes of ice time.


Still no power play luck

Florida got out of this game with another empty night on the power play. The team went 0/3 tonight on the PP, making that 0/5 on the series.


To make matters worse they gave up a shorthanded goal while leading 1-0 in the first period.


The Panthers have scored just one goal on the power play dating back to last year’s playoffs – that goal came in the second round against Tampa. 


The goose egg on the power play didn’t end up hurting them tonight,  but they’ll need to find the back of the net during this series on the man-advantage.


Florida was able to play their game

Playoffs are a different animal from that of the regular season.


When you see team’s get into a dominant groove during the 82 game year, it doesn’t necessarily translate to the postseason.


Tonight the game was an entertaining back and forth battle for the first 40 minutes of play. Both teams played each other pretty tight and didn’t give each other much breathing room to breakaway.


That all changed when the final period began. 


Florida was able to jump out to the early lead because of Brandon Montour’s first goal. Boston was still keeping it pretty close up until Carter Verhaeghe gave Florida a two goal cushion. 


After Florida got the breathing room, they began to control the game. 


The team was locked into their brand of hockey; controlling the puck and activating the blueline in the offensive zone. 


For the first time really all series, Florida looked to be the clearly dominant team in the late stages of the game.


Not having to play catch up calmed the Panthers down tonight. It opened up their game and possibly their confidence against the Bruins.


Alex Lyon’s tale continues

Another game, another win for the Lyon King.


Alex Lyon was locked in from the jump – as seen on NHL network’s pregame show where he was staring down the camera


The Panthers’ goalie got the nod again tonight from Paul Maurice after he lost Game 1.


Lyon took the crease again for the tenth straight game and second of the playoffs. 


He was able to stop 34 of the 37 shots he faced, giving up a short handed goal, a power play goal and a late five-hole squeaker as the game was 6-2. 


It’s safe to say that Lyon’s job as the starter will live to see another day after two impressive starts in Boston. 


Games 3 & 4 will be at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise.

2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs preview: Boston Bruins vs Florida Panthers

The first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin Monday, April 17. Today we preview the Boston Bruins vs Florida Panthers series.


(1A) Boston Bruins vs (WC2) Florida Panthers 

Boston: 65-12-5, 135 points (Presidents’ Trophy)

Florida: 42-32-8, 92 points (WC 2)

Head-to-Head: BOS 2-1-1; FLA 2-2-0


The battle of the last two Presidents’ Trophy winners will begin Monday night at the TD Garden in Boston, with the Florida Panthers taking on the best regular season team in NHL history, the Boston Bruins.


Florida’s last minute 6-1-1 regular season run was just enough to get them into the playoffs as the final wild card team in the East. Last season’s top-seed struggled to find their game as they finished the 2022-2023 campaign with 30 points less than they did the previous season. 


The Bruins on the other hand breezed through the league this year, winning 65 games in the season, which is the most in NHL history. They also set the league record for points with 135. 


Despite the 43 point difference between the teams, history has shown us that the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a 16 team race – with every series up for grabs. 


A hot goalie can steal you a series in the same way a bad goalie can lose you one. 


BOSTON: Going into the series, it is clear that Boston has the advantage over Florida. Linus Ullmark made a strong case this season as one of the Vezina favorites. The Bruins starting goalie led the league in multiple categories including save percentage with .938, goals-against average  with a 1.89 and tied for wins with 40 in his 49 games (48 starts). 


His backup Jeremy Swayman also had a nice season, finishing with a 24-6-4 record,  a .920 save percentage and a 2.27 GAA. 


The duo combined to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, which is awarded to the goaltending duo who conceded the least amount of goals against in the season. The one area this duo lacks in his playoff experience, with the two only having a total of seven postseason starts under their belt. Other than that, Boston really shouldn’t have any issue in net going into this series.


FLORIDA: The Panthers have a much more interesting goaltending situation compared to their opponent, which has been the story of Florida’s playoffs for the last three seasons. 


For the majority of the season, two-time Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky has held the Panthers’ net to himself. Bobrovksy had a record of 24-20-3 with a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage in 50 games (49 starts) in 2022-2023. 

Bobrovsky has a plethora of playoff experience with his 51 games played (46 starts). The 34-year-old started all 10 playoff games last season for the Panthers. 


However, the man who Florida may turn to, at least at the start of the playoffs, could very well be the wild card backup, Alex Lyon.


Just a few weeks before the postseason, Florida was on the outside looking in for a playoff spot and Bobrovsky was sidelined with an illness. Alex Lyon had to step in and he clawed Florida into the playoffs with a 6-1-1 record in their last eight games, while putting together a six-game win streak. Lyon,30, has no NHL playoff experience, however he did win a Calder Cup last year with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.


Bobrovsky hasn’t played in a game since March 27 in Ottawa, while Lyon has played in the last eight games. It should be Lyon to start the series, but don’t be surprised if head coach Paul Maurice turns back to his $10M goalie. 


This area of the game is a lot more even than it is in the crease. Both teams were top 10 offenses this season, with the two sides scoring at over a 3.5 goals per-game rate.


BOSTON: Boston’s offense is carried by superstar David Pastrnak, who finished second in the league in goals with 61. The Bruins winger had the third most points this season with 113. He will be the most dangerous player on the ice for Boston.


After Pastrnak’s astounding numbers, the Bruins don’t have another “stand out”, what they have is a balanced team offense. Eight of their players scored 50 or more points this season, five of whom had 20+ goals (including Pastrnak). 


FLORIDA: Florida’s offense is a little more top heavy compared to the Bruins. The Panthers offense is spearheaded by two 40 goal scorers in Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe. Before this year, Florida only had one player ever hit 40 goals in a season. That was Pavel Bure who got 50+ twice in South Florida. Tkachuk finished sixth in the NHL in points with 109, while Verhaeghe’s 42 goals was top 10 in the league. 


A large portion of Florida’s offense this season came from the blueline, with Panthers defensemen scoring 53 times – second most in the league.


Both teams relied on offensive contribution from their back end this season. Boston’s d-men had 205 points, while Florida’s had 204 — this was the second and third most points by defensemen in the NHL.

Two-way game

BERGERON: This series will be an entertaining one on the other side of the puck because of the two teams’ captains. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron will go down as one of the best two-way players of all-time. Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy five times, most recently last year and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he takes home his sixth trophy as the league’s best defensive forward. 


BARKOV: Florida’s Aleksander Barkov is the perfect counterpart for Bergeron in this series. The 27-year-old Panther captain is a one-time Selke winner himself and just finished another impressive campaign with 78 points in 68 games. Barkov will log a lot of minutes for the Panthers as they try to shut down the explosive Bruins offense. 


The blueline for these teams both boast entertaining players. Charlie McAvoy continues to be a top defenseman in the league on both sides of the puck for Boston while Florida’s Brandon Montour had a Panthers record setting season with 73 points.


With these two juggernaut offenses getting contributions from everywhere on the ice – yes even Linus Ullmark scored a goalie goal this season, it should be a fun back and forth series. 


Boston was the best team in the NHL this season and you can see why. They had spectacular goaltending, offensive help up and down the lineup, and they were led by a well-established veteran presence. Florida struggled to find their way to the playoffs, but now that they are at the dance, they have some top players who can steal them a series.

The “Lyon King” roars as the Florida Panthers close in on the playoffs

When all hope seemed lost, the Panthers found a hero in the king of the jungle


Last week in Ottawa, the Panthers season looked all but finished.


The team was outclassed in almost every way by the Senators as they lost their fourth-straight game, and slipped from the playoff spot they held just a week prior.


With three more games to follow on the road trip, and an already playoff secured Toronto Maple Leafs next on the schedule, Florida was looking for any form of life to get them back on the right track with less than 10 games to go in the season.


Prior to the Leafs-Panthers game last Wednesday, the problems seemed to only get worse for Florida. Panthers’ head coach Paul Maurice didn’t announce his starting goalie for that night, which was suspicious as he has always let the media know who would be in net this season. 


The belief from the outside was that starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t ready to go and backup Alex Lyon would have to come into the net.


When the Panthers took the ice at Scotiabank Arena, that theory was correct. Lyon took the crease in a must-win scenario for his team.


In Lyon’s five previous games with the Panthers, he gave up a total of 23 goals, with a 1-3-1 record. 


Lyon, who had given up five goals just a week prior  to Philly, had to face a top-10 offensive team in the league while his team was riding their worst losing-streak of the season. The optimism wasn’t too high for Panthers fans.


However, when the 30-year-old took the crease, he looked like a different goalie than the one we saw in his previous appearances. 


Florida did not look good against Toronto. The team was getting outplayed in the offensive zone and couldn’t generate their usual number of chances at the other end. The only person keeping them in the game was Lyon.


At the start of the season, Lyon was in the AHL playing for the Charlotte Checkers. With Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight already locked into the team, he wasn’t in the discussion for the Panthers’ backup job – just as an option for the third-string.


Well the third-string goalie pushed his team to overtime in Toronto, and possibly saved their season. 


Moments after robbing Auston Matthews from point-blank range with a glove save, the Panthers flipped the ice and won the game with Brandon Montour’s 14th goal of the season.


Lyon, who is referred to by his teammates as the “Lyon King” stopped 38 shots in a 3-2 comeback win, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Following the game, as we do every night,  the media headed to the locker room. When we got to the doors we heard a song blasting from the inside. It was “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from “The Lion King”.


Lyon’s teammates spoke highly of their goaltender who backstopped them to their first win in over a week. 


“You guys saw it yourself, he gave us every chance to win the game,” Panthers’ captain Sasha Barkov said last Wednesday in Toronto. “He brings the joy to the locker room, to the ice.”


 Lyon broke the Panthers out of their slump, but there was still work to be done with them still sitting a ways away from a playoff spot.


With Bobrovsky still out of the lineup with an illness, the Panthers returned to Lyon on the back-to-back the following night in Montreal. The Lyon King defended his net, or in this case his “jungle”, picking up the win against the Canadiens.


And once again, the locker room was blasting their new post-game song about their king of a goalie.  


With the quick turnaround of wins in Toronto and Montreal, the Panthers had some life with their final game of the trip in Columbus on the horizon. The team went with Lyon for the third-consecutive game since Bobrovsky was still out. He picked up his first career shutout in a 7-0 win against Columbus.


A few days off after the road trip allowed for some scoreboard watching, with the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins who both held Wild Card spots in action.


The Panthers were given a lifeline from the Carolina Hurricanes, who defeated the Islanders in regulation. Florida now controlled their playoff destiny with a game against a surging Sabres team looming. 


In what would be the biggest game of the season to this point (all of them are now), Florida turned to Lyon again with Bobrovsky still out. A win against Buffalo would see the Panthers leapfrog the Islanders into a playoff spot, with a chance of also jumping the Penguins depending on their result that night.


Seven days after his 38 save performance in Toronto which kept the Panthers playoff hopes alive, Lyon picked up 39 saves in a 2-1 regulation win against the Sabres – putting Florida into the first Wild Card spot in the East.


“He battles… there’s no quit in his game,” Matthew Tkachuk said of Lyon after the game. “It brings so much positive energy and it’s really been huge for our team down the stretch going into playoffs to have that type of energy.”


Lyon spoke about his teammates “celebrating” him following games.


“It’s awesome, it’s a testament to the locker room and the culture of the Florida Panthers. I take a lot of pride as well and being a good teammate and being accountable,” Lyon said postgame on Wednesday. “There were games this year where I didn’t play well and they still supported me, [I’m] really appreciative of them.”


Until Wednesday night’s win against Buffalo, Florida had not won four-straight games all season. Their best winning streak of the year came at the perfect time, as they brushed off their four-consecutive losses from the week prior.


In seven days, Lyon has a 4-0-0 record, posting a .959 save % and a 1.25 GAA. He has given up just five goals over that span. 


When the Panthers looked like they reached their end, the king of the jungle found his way to the crease, roaring his way towards the playoffs.

Are the Florida Panthers playoff hopes gone?

Just one week ago it looked like the Florida Panthers finally figured out the formula to play their best hockey. The Cats were riding their best stretch of the season with points in seven straight games, boasting a 6-0-1 record over that span.


On March 21, Florida went into Philadelphia holding a playoff spot with 12 games remaining on the schedule.


Six days later, the Panthers left Ottawa losers of four straight and three points back of Pittsburgh for the last wild card spot. In less than a week, Florida went from playing their best hockey of the season to their worst, as this four-game skid is the most they’ve gone without a win this year. 


Over that span, the Panthers have been outscored 21-10 despite outshooting their opponents in all those matchups. They’ve also been without the services of their No. 2 center Sam Bennett during the losing streak. The Panthers will once again be without Sam Bennett tonight as he is set to miss his fifth consecutive game. Florida has not picked up a single point in the last four games without 


With eight games left in the regular season, the Panthers will try to break out of their untimely downfall on Wednesday night against a Toronto Maple Leafs team that they’ve yet to beat all year. 


“You wake up this morning, got  singular focus… you are coming to a hockey game tonight in Toronto and we got to win this game,” Paul Maurice said after Panthers’ morning skate. 


Can the Panthers still make it?

Well, yes. The Panthers can still make the playoffs however, they clearly haven’t been doing themselves any favors over the last week. 


The teams that are above Florida in the standings still have a decent points gap on them while the teams that are behind them have been winning.


For the Panthers to sneak into the postseason, it will come down to two things.


First, they’ll need to win almost all of  their final eight games. The Islanders have a six point lead on the Panthers with one more game played, while the Penguins have a three point lead with the same number of games remaining. 


Second thing, they’ll need one of the Pens or Islanders to do what they themselves did this past week, lose a lot. 


The Red Wings did Florida a favor last night when they took down the Penguins in regulation, now it’s up to the Panthers to pick up points while there’s still a glimmer of playoff hope. 


Current Eastern Conference standings (As of March 29)

WC 1: NY Islanders 75 GP – 85  points 

WC 2: Pittsburgh Penguins 74 GP – 82 points 

In the hunt

Florida Panthers 74 GP – 79 points

Buffalo Sabres 73 GP – 77 points 

Ottawa Senators 74 GP – 77 points 

Washington Capitals 74 GP – 76 points

Florida’s locker room is still optimistic that they can turn around their season as they approach the final few games.


“Right from the break we knew that it’s gonna be tight, there’s a bunch of teams fighting for it,” Brandon Montour said on Wednesday in Toronto. “It’s gonna be tough but like I said, we got the guys in the locker room to do it.” 


Coach Paul Maurice was asked what makes him believe that his team is still in the hunt – his response was straight forward, there’s no other option. 


“Ah man this is the National Hockey League and it’s pro sports, we’re not 14 points out we’re right there,” Maurice said. “The other option is what? If you lived your life waking up without belief or thinking bad things were gonna happen you just would never get to the National Hockey League.”


Florida has three more games on this road trip before heading back to Sunrise, including a back-to-back in Toronto and Montreal


It’s simple for Florida, win or you’re not getting in. 

Kevin Fiala excited to represent the LA Kings and Switzerland at the 2023 NHL All-Star Game

The 2023 NHL All-Star game in Sunrise, FL. will see 14 first-time participants take part in the event at FLA Live Arena on Saturday.


One of those first-time picks is St. Gallen, Switzerland native and LA Kings forward Kevin Fiala. 


Fiala, 26, has adapted well in year one with his new team, leading the Kings with  53 points in 53 games. He was traded to LA in the off-season after a career year with the Wild, where he scored 85 points in 82 games.


“It’s been great to come into the Kings,” Fiala said Thursday at NHL All-Star Media Day. “The team, the players have been awesome, so it’s been pretty easy to come in… it’s a big family.” 


When Fiala takes the ice on Saturday, he will become the sixth Swiss player to play in an NHL All-Star game (Roman Josi, Nico Hischier, Timo Meier, Mark Streit, Jonas Hiller).


Fiala is excited to not only represent the Kings this weekend, but also his home country.


“[It’s] not just for the LA Kings but also for Switzerland,” Fiala said. “Just very excited to be here and [a] dream come true.”


When Fiala was drafted 11th-overall by the Nashville Predators in 2014, he became just the seventh Swiss player to be drafted in the first-round. With the continued growth of hockey in Switzerland, there have been 10 Swiss players drafted in round-one, including Nico Hischier who went number one to the New Jersey Devils in 2017.


Fiala has represented Switzerland on the world stage multiple times, including at the World Juniors and the Ice Hockey World Championships. His biggest moment with the national team came at the 2018 World Championships, when the Swiss just narrowly missed out on a gold medal, taking home silver after losing to Sweden in a shootout. 


He says the next objective for Switzerland is to bring home a gold medal.


“It’s a big goal for us to win the gold medal, like you said we’ve been close twice, I’ve been there once,” Fiala said. “It’s a big goal for us to kind of make this the next step.”


Fiala believes that a win at the World Championships could inspire the next generation of Swiss hockey players.


“I think that if we are going to make it, it’s going to help the young guys see that we won the World Championship, so they can do it too and play in the NHL too” he said. “We’re going to grow the game a little more in Switzerland.” 


As a first-time All-Star, Fiala got some advice from some of his Kings and Swiss teammates about what to expect this weekend. Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Roman Josi were amongst the guys he spoke to.


“They kind of filled me in, they told me it’s going to be very fun, so I’m looking forward to it.”


While All-Star weekend gives hockey fans an opportunity to see the best players in the league all on the same ice for a few days, the players also get some enjoyment out of the weekend. 


Fiala said he is most excited to be around the other players throughout the week.


“Just being here with the guys, getting to know some of [them],” Fiala said. “I don’t know everybody yet so it’ll be fun.” 


During Friday’s skill competition, Fiala will be participating in the fastest skater challenge. On Saturday, he will be the sole representative for the Kings on the Pacific Division All-Star team.

Five Takeaways from Panthers loss to Kraken

SUNRISE: On the second half of a back-to-back, the Florida Panthers hosted the Seattle Kraken Sunday night in Sunrise.


This is the second time the two sides played this month; Florida won the first meeting 5-1 in Seattle. 


The Kraken got their revenge tonight, putting up five goals of their own in a 5-2 win over the Panthers.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways:

Eric Staal gets his first goal of the season

It hasn’t been the easiest start to his Panthers career for long-time NHL veteran Eric Staal. He was goalless through 21 games this season, with only four points to his name.


The 38-year-old center, who has over 1,000 career points, finally put the puck in the back of the net to get his first goal as a Panther. This was Staal’s first NHL goal since 2021.


You could see how much getting this one meant for him, as he let out an ecstatic celebration following the goal.


A bad start had Florida behind way too early

A team never wants to go down in a game, but when you’re playing catch up from the jump, you lose the momentum swing early. 


Seattle came out and had the perfect start to the game, scoring 64 seconds into the first period. 

After Carter Verhaeghe rifled a one-timer shot off the crossbar, Seattle transitioned the other way, and Matty Beniers delivered. The 20-year-old fired a slapshot from the slot, beating Bobrovsky up high for his 11th goal of the season.


Before some fans could make way to their seats, the Panthers were already behind in the game. 


Ryan Lomberg gets a major penalty and a game misconduct – the league will look at it

Down 3-1 in the third, Florida had no momentum, the crowd was out of it, the entire team looked defeated.


With the Panthers on the penalty kill, Cats forward Ryan Lomberg chipped the puck into the zone past Justin Schultz. With the puck in the corner, Lomberg hit Schultz from behind, which lead to a large scrum of bodies fighting in front of the Kraken net. 


Following the mayhem, Lomberg was assessed a five-minute major for boarding, a roughing minor, and a game misconduct.


Due to the call being a major penalty, the league will review the hit and determine if it is worthy of a suspension. The already shorthanded Panthers forward unit could be without another regular depending on the league’s decision. 


The Panthers power play couldn’t strike, again

The power play had their opportunities tonight. Down 2-1 in the third, Florida had a chance to tie the game on the man-advantage. However, the Kraken not only killed off the penalty, but immediately scored after to extend their lead to two.  


Florida went 0/3 on the power play tonight. This is the third straight game they went scoreless on their pp chances. 


Florida has one goal in their last 14 power play chances.


Sergei Bobrovsky plays both games on the back-to-back

After Sergei Bobrovsky had to come in for Spencer Knight last week in Winnipeg, the Russian goalie has started three games in four days, including a back-to-back.


Knight is still out of the Panthers lineup as he deals with a non-COVID illness, and with no update on the availability of Knight, Bob is going to keep on playing. 


While the stats department hasn’t looked the greatest, Bob looked quite comfortable in the net. Tonight, he had to make more than a few big saves while the game was close. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of support in front of him on both ends of the puck. 


“I felt good, it’s nice to see some rhythm, you know, play hockey, play lots of minutes, I love that so it’s great to be there fo sure,” Bobrovsky said. 


Bobrovsky had 27 saves on 31 shots tonight.

Five Takeaways from Panthers win over Red Wings

SUNRISE – After a long Western Canada/Seattle road trip, the Florida Panthers were back home Thursday night at FLA Live arena.


In their first game at home since Nov. 26, the Panthers faced off against the Detroit Red Wings, a team who sat above them in the standings entering tonight’s game. 


After a 5-2 loss to Winnipeg last time out, the Panthers bounced back tonight with a 5-1 win over the Wings at home.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways:

The captain is back 

Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov missed the entire road trip as he was recuperating from a non-COVID illness. 


Tonight he was back on the ice for the first game since Nov. 23 against the Boston Bruins.


The return came at a good time as his fellow countryman and center Anton Lundell is still out of the Cats lineup with a non-COVID illness.


Lundell was running Barkov’s spot on the top power play unit when the captain was out. Barkov jumped back into his center role tonight. 


Tonight wasn’t a dominating game by Barkov and that makes sense after he’s been out so long. And with recent reports that came out saying Barkov had a bout with pneumonia , it was a good sign to see him play upwards of 16 minutes and get an assist on the scoresheet. 


Shorthanded Panthers get contributions from AHL call ups 

The return of Barkov was a huge win for the Panthers team as they were without his services for the last six games. 


Despite their captain making his way back into the lineup, the Cats were still shorthanded with both Anton Lundell and Radko Gudas missing tonight’s games, while Patric Hornqvist is on LTIR. 


Florida had to look towards a few of their minor league guys tonight to fill the void and they were pretty effective. 


Chris Tierney, who was playing in his second NHL game of the season tonight, opened the scoring with his first goal of the year towards the end of the first period.


In the next frame, another AHL call up Matt Kiersted found himself with his first goal of the season after the 24-year-old defenseman jumped up in the play, putting a loose puck past Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.


Last game against Winnipeg, Zac Dalpe scored in his first game of the year after being called up from the AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers

No power play luck tonight, but really no problem

In a game where nearly everything went right for the Cats, the one area that wasn’t prosperous was the powerplay. 


Florida went 0/3 on the man-advantage tonight; losing the special teams battle as Detroit went 1/4.


Other than striking out on the PP, the offense was effective and Mambo No. 5 was played tonight, so the Panthers will be ok with this small area of defeat.


Matthew Tkachuk cannot be stopped

Another game, another Matthew Tkachuk show. 


Tonight against Detroit, Tkachuk had scored a great goal off the rush where he sold the pass, the shot and probably a lottery ticket before roofing it over Nedeljkovic. 


No. 19’s two point performance was his 13th multipoint game of the season. The 24-year-old has 37 points in 25 games this season, this is the most among players on new teams in 2022-2023.


This season when the Panthers were going through rough spells, he was one of the few bright spots on the team. Of course when they put on a dominant outing like tonight, it’s a cherry on top. 


Bob didn’t see much, but he kept the door closed

The last few weeks has seen Spencer Knight command the Panthers net for the majority of the games. 


Knight was out of the lineup tonight with an illness, so Sergei Bobrovsky got the crease.


It hasn’t been the best year for Bob, with him posting a 4-6-1 record, a 3.72 GAA and a save percentage of .880% before tonight’s game.


Florida’s defense had a solid showing tonight, only allowing Detroit to get 20 shots on goal. And for Bob, he only gave up one goal, which would come off a Red Wings power play. 


There’s no telling how long Spencer Knight might miss due to his non-COVID illness, so until he is cleared, it will be Bob’s net. 

Reflecting on Roberto Luongo’s Hockey Hall of Fame Induction

TORONTO – On Monday night, Roberto Luongo was enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF), forever acknowledging him as one of the greatest hockey players to ever live. 


His career was an extremely successful one, with six all-star appearances, two Olympic gold medals, 489 career wins – which ranks fourth all-time, and becoming the first goalie to captain an NHL team in 60 years.


Besides a 24 game spell with the New York Islanders in 1999-2000, Luongo spent the entirety of his 19-season Hall of Fame career with the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks. Luongo became the first player who spent the majority of their career with the Panthers (572 of 1,044 games) to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. 


Over the weekend, Luongo reminisced on his long professional hockey career. The Canadian media was very keen on hearing about the triumphs of the 2010 Olympics, which Lu was more than happy to discuss. The story of how Sidney Crosby’s Golden Goal came to be because Lu moved the puck to Scott Niedermayer behind the net rather than freezing it was the tale that he told. 


When asked about which team he’d prefer to represent as he went into the Hall, Lu went with the safe answer, “Team Canada.” 


As big of a star Lu was during his playing days with the Canadian national team, he was just as much of an icon in Vancouver and Florida. “Luuuu” chants echoed through Scotiabank Arena when he was presented his Hall of Fame blazer by Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald. The same chants were heard on the red carpet of Meridian Hall as Luongo stepped out of the limo and inside the venue as he took the stage on induction night.


The HHOF induction ceremonies were a fun experience for all involved. The inductees spent the weekend with their families and former teammates.


Former Florida Panthers captain and now Luongo’s colleague in the Florida front office, Bryan McCabe, was in Toronto for the induction, he spoke about his time with Lu. 


“It’s been awesome (working with him), he’s a really intelligent guy, brings a lot to the table and it’s been a pleasure getting to know him off the ice over the last few years,” McCabe said.


Going into the Hall alongside Luongo were his former Canucks teammates, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Both players mentioned Lu in their induction speeches. 


“Being inducted into the hall of fame is truly an honor but doing it alongside Roberto makes it so much more special,” Daniel said. “You raised the standards on our team and made everyone believe that average was never an option. I’m proud to call you a friend.” 


Henrik spoke about the culture the Canucks core had during their best years and said Lu was at the forefront of that. 


“Roberto, you were the face of that culture, I’ve never been around anyone with the same determination and willingness to do anything to get better, it’s an honor to be here tonight with you,” Henrik said.  


As a Montreal native, Luongo joined an elite cast of Quebec goalies to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The likes of Jacques Plante, Georges Vezina, Martin Brodeur, Rogie Vachon and Patrick Roy were all legends in their own right, hailing from the Canadian province. 


“It was a big part of our upbringing to know that all of these great Quebec goalies are some of the best goalies in the world,” Luongo said. “I wanted to be like them… just to be able to say that I’m going into the same Hall of Fame as they are, it’s a tremendous honor.” 


The humble nature of Lu, as it always is, was on full display this weekend. He took the time to recognize some key figures that got him where he was today. 


Lu told me that one goaltender he wanted to style his game after as a teenager was former Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, Patrick Roy. In his early years, he was able to learn under Roy’s former goalie coach, Francois Allaire.


“The one (coach) that really made me who I was is Francois Allaire,” Luongo said. “He’s the one that really installed the technical part of the game in me… he really kicked off my career and gave me a solid foundation to build off of.” 


Lu came to South Florida as a young man in 2000. He was in his early twenties, with just 24 NHL games under his belt. Five years later in 2006 when he was traded to Vancouver, he left South Florida as a bonafide star in the league, playing in 317 games with the Panthers. During his first stint in Florida, Lu would also meet his wife Gina – with the help of a former teammate. 


“I remember after one practice Scott Mellanby came up to me and said, I want to take you to an Italian place… the owner wants to meet you,” Luongo said.


“After a little bit of time he started inviting me over to the house, I was having dinner there, it was like another family,” Luongo said during his induction speech. “Wouldn’t you know they had a daughter, and that happens to be the love of my life, Gina.”


While Mellanby will forever live in the memory of Panthers fans for being the player who killed the rat in the locker room during their run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final, Luongo remembered his former teammate over the weekend for changing his life, literally.   


The best years of Luongo’s career were undoubtedly when he was in Vancouver. In his eight year run with the Canucks, they made the playoffs six times, won six division titles, two Presidents’ Trophies and went to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.


When the NHL went on break for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Luongo led Canada to the top of the hockey world as they defeated the Americans in overtime to claim the gold medal, with over 16 million people watching across the country. To this day people in Canada still talk about Luongo’s play in that tournament.  


While the Vancouver Luongo teams had consistent playoff appearances and a roster which would see multiple players become Hall of Famers, it was the complete opposite for Lu’s Panthers teams. 


Florida never made the playoffs in the first five years they had Luongo between the pipes. When he returned to the Panthers in March of 2014 for his second go, Lu had one goal: take the Panthers to the playoffs. 


“With the Panthers, when I came back on my second stint I was dead set on it, I wanted to make the playoffs with them,” Luongo said. “When I got traded back… a lot of people thought I was going to run into the sunset as they said, but for me I really wanted to witness a playoff series with that team.”


In 2016, that Panthers playoff dream would happen. This time around, Lu had a series of future NHL stars around him, with the likes of a young Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad. Florida faced off against the team that drafted him, the New York Islanders in the first-round. Unfortunately, the Panthers didn’t win the series and Lu never got to play with that Panthers core in their prime. That would be the only time Luongo reached the postseason with the team before retiring in 2019.


Today, Lu is still with the Panthers organization in a front office role. He currently serves as the Special Advisor to General Manager Bill Zito.


His ties to the South Florida community will always be there.  He is the first Panther player to have his jersey retired, while also being inducted into the Hall with most of his career being spent in a Panthers uniform. His wife was born and raised in the area and they have brought up their family there.


“I think It’s a great place to bring up your family, that’s why we made it our home… it’ll always be home for me, I enjoy living there and it’s a great place to raise a family,” Luongo said.


With his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Roberto Luongo will forever be remembered by hockey fans for his stellar on ice play, his off the ice personality (especially his Twitter account) and all that he’s accomplished with Team Canada, Vancouver and Florida. He now rightfully has his place amongst hockey’s greatest legends and will so for the rest of time.

Five Takeaways from Panthers win over Capitals

For the first time since last season’s playoffs, the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals faced off at FLA Live Arena.


Florida won the game 5-2, backstopped by a stellar performance from Sergei Bobrovsky and two-goal night from Carter Verhaeghe.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways.


The Sam’s are buzzing

It was no secret that both Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett had slower starts to the season than they would have liked. Both players respectively had the best season of their careers in 2021-2022, so there was some cause for concern as the two had only one goal between them when Florida hit the road a few weeks ago.


The Sam’s seemed to have gotten over the snake bite ever since they both got on the board in the game against Anaheim on Nov. 6. 


Tonight, Reinhart scored a baseball style goal on the powerplay as he batted the puck from midair past Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper. 


Unlike Saturday where he scored twice against Edmonton, Bennett didn’t find the back of the net tonight, however he was very noticeable on the ice against Washington, specifically when the Panthers were skating in transition and when he was around the front of goal.


When the Sam’s are going, good things happen for the Panthers. 


Florida winning the special teams battle won them the game

You never want to give the Washington Capitals a power play… why? There’s this guy on their team that is 13 goals away from having the second most of all-time in NHL history. Yes, it’s Alex Ovechkin.


Ovi has a permanent residence on the left faceoff circle in every hockey arena across the world. He has the most powerplay goals all-time with 290 and counting. So you don’t want to give him a chance to get 291. 


Florida went to the box five times tonight, which isn’t ideal after what was mentioned about Ovechkin. Yet, Florida came up huge on the penalty kill, going 5-for-5 on the PK, due in large part to the great game played by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.


The power play was perfect, literally

The Panthers penalty kill was 100 percent tonight. As for the power play, which has been a struggle for most of this season, that department also had a perfect night, scoring on their one and only attempt of the game. 


Florida usually gets more than one crack at the man-advantage on most nights as their fast transition game and offensive zone play gets teams to bite. Tonight, that wasn’t the case with Washington going to the box only once, but that one penalty cost them a goal against as Sam Reinhart scored to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the second period. 


Florida’s missed opportunities on special teams has hurt them in close games this season, but tonight it was the opposite. 


Sergei Bobrovsky was more than solid – 40 saves and the win

For the last three games prior to tonight, the crease was Spencer Knight’s. Because of that, Bob hasn’t played in 10 days, with his last start coming on Nov. 5 in Los Angeles.


Tonight, Bobrovsky was back in the net and his performance propelled Florida to the win tonight. 


Bob ended the night with 40 saves and was the brick wall that kept Washington scoreless on the power play. 


During the third period, Washington was all over Florida for most of the frame, putting 21 shots on Bob and scoring a goal to make it a one-goal game.


With the Panthers looking like they could lose the lead at any minute, Bob kept the team in check with his play, before the late game goal support came in from Carter Verhaeghe.


Swaggy gets two-goals… again

It seems like when Carter Verhaeghe scores, he does it in bunches – which isn’t wrong as he’s scored two goals in a game four times this year while scoring one goal only twice. 


The Capitals are no stranger to Verhaeghe’s offensive abilities as he dominated them in the playoffs last season with 12 points in six games. 


Verhaeghe missed a few shifts in the game tonight as he went to the Panthers dressing room after taking a hit up high from Capitals forward Lars Eller. It was a good sign to see him come back to the bench, and it was even better to see him score the two insurance goals late in the third.   


The entire top line got on the scoresheet tonight, with Sasha Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk both picking up three points in the win.