Florida’s past two games were not ones to be proud of. The Panthers were outscored 6-1 on home ice, dropping two-straight at Amerant Bank Arena for the first time all season.
“We were horseshit,” Paul Maurice simply put it after last Friday’s 3-0 loss to Winnipeg.
After a few days between games and an extra hard skate on Sunday, the Panthers were back to winning ways on Monday night, defeating the Senators 5-0 in the first of three games on their Eastern Canada road trip.
Monday’s game was a conformable win for the Panthers, but that wasn’t without some drammatics in a penalty filled Atlantic Division matchup.
Here’s my takeaways.
Everyone gets a penalty, literally
If you can remember the last time Ottawa and Floirda met, it was April 6, 2023. That game saw 166 penalty minutes assessed between the two teams in Florida’s 7-2 win.
A little over seven months later, somehow it happened again.
It was a frustrating night for the Senators. Florida scored three-straight goals on power play to go up 3-0 in the second period. And when the third period came along, there were a lot more post-whistle scrums than scoring chances.
The mayhem really kicked off when Senators forward Zach MacEwen was ejected after taking a run at Matthew Tkachuk. MacEwen got a match penalty for elbowing Tkachuk in the head 5:13 into the third.
After that, the flood gates really opened.
12:38 into the third, all players on the ice, besides the goalies, were assessed game misconducts. Yes, everyone.
The official’s call made it even better, “And then every player on the ice has a 10-minute misconduct.”
By the end of the game there were 167 penalty minutes, a ton of game misconducts and a lot of empty space on the bench. Panthers backup goalie Anthony Stolarz took the rare chance to sit right in the middle of the vacant Florida bench.
“He came to sit on the bench, maybe hoping for one shift,” Barkov joked.
Like Barkov, Panthers head coach Paul Maurice also had some playful remarks post game.
“That’s mild. We only got to about 160 something [penalty] minutes there. It’s got to get into the 250s before it gets too squirrelly,” Maurice said. “Both teams want to win and you get a little snarly. That was fun.”
Sam Reinhart can’t stop scoring
This has been a running theme all season — if the Panthers have success — Sam Reinhart probably scored.
Reinhart scored the first two goals of the game on Monday night — both coming on the power play.
The 28-year-old is having the best start to a season in his career, and it comes during a contract year for him.
Reinhart leads the Panthers in scoring with 15 goals on the season. His brace in Ottawa moved him into a tie for most goals in the league before the NHL’s Monday night slate was over. He has a team-high 27 points in 21 games.
Panthers capitalize early on the power play
Florida’s power play unit desperately needed some life after going just 1-17 over the past five games.
The Panthers didn’t have to wait long before they’d get their first attempt on the man-advantage on Monday. Just 65 seconds into the first, the Panthers got to work on the power play.
Sam Reinhart would score on the power play just 1:28 into the game. He’d score again on Florida’s second power play opportunity later on in the second period.
“We needed it just to get that kind of confidence back,” Reinhart said on Monday’s power play success. “It’s an important one for us.”
Sam Bennett would elevate Florida’s lead to three and their power play goals to the same number 7:09 into the second. Florida was perfect on their first three power play chances of the night.
Florida has a quick turn around tomorrow, taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second half of the back-to-back.
Aleksander Barkov’s two-point night led to his 650th career point — all of which came as a Panther.
Sergei Bobrovsky had 20 saves in his second shutout of the season.