Tag Archive for: Panthers

Verhaeghe Scores 100th Career Goal, Panthers Begin California Road Trip With Fifth-Straight Win

The Florida Panthers kicked off their three-game California road trip on the right track, defeating the San Jose Sharks 5-3 at the SAP Center Tuesday night.


Here’s some updates from last night’s late west-coast game in case you missed it. 


— Florida had five different goal scorers Tuesday night; Ryan Lomberg, Sam Reinhart, Carter Verhaeghe, Kevin Stenlund and Aleksander Barkov. 


— Carter Verhaeghe’s game-tying goal in the third period was the 100th of his career. The 28-year-old has seven goals on the season. 


— Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist against the Sharks, extending his point-streak to five games. Reinhart has scored at least two-points in each of the past five games. He leads the Panthers in scoring with 23 points. 


—  Anthony Stolarz, had 19 saves on 22 shots in his second win of the season. The Panthers’ backup goalie has a 2-1-0 record this season. 


— Florida won their fifth-straight game, improving their record to 10-4-1. They are third in the Eastern Conference (Boston, New York Rangers).


— Sam Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe all had two points Tuesday night. 


— Florida scored twice on the power play. This is only the second time all season they’ve converted more than once with the man-advantage (Nov. 12 vs Chicago).  


— The Panthers will make the short trip from San Jose to LA for a back-to-back in Southern California. They’ll face the Kings on Thursday and the Ducks on Friday. 


— Sergei Bobrovsky, who got the night off in San Jose, will most likely get the start against LA.


— Friday’s matchup against Anaheim will be the first time Ducks defenseman Radko Gudas faces his former team. Gudas, 33, spent the last three seasons with the Panthers. Former Panther Frank Vatrano is also with the Ducks.

Takeaways from Panthers 4-3 win over Blackhawks

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers picked up their fourth-straight win Sunday afternoon, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 at Amerant Bank Arena. 


Florida is now 6-1 on home ice this season, improving their overall record to 9-4-1.


Here’s this afternoon’s takeaways.


Sam Reinhart can’t stop scoring

Florida’s leading scorer Sam Reinhart continued his dominant start to the season on Sunday.


The Panthers forward finished the day with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) — tying his career-high. He also extended his point-streak to four games. 


After Sunday’s game, the 28-year-old has 21 points in 16 games, pushing him into the top-10 in league wide scoring.


“He’s incredible,” Sam Bennett said when asked about Reinhart. “He’s one of those guys that have really stepped up and he’s part of the reason why our team is doing so well right now.”


The first-star of the game honors evidently went to Reinhart.

Connor Bedard makes his presence felt in the Sunshine State

The hockey world knew this summer’s first-overall pick Connor Bedard was a special talent. 


In Chicago’s previous game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Bedard had a breakout game, picking up four points en route to a 5-3 win. 


After a quick trip down from Tampa to Sunrise, Bedard gave fans in attendance another performance worthy of the first-overall pick.


Despite the loss, Bedard scored twice for the Blackhawks, further extending his lead in rookie scoring to 13 points in as many games. 


“He’s got an unbelievable release, his ability to change angles,” Paul Maurice said about Bedard. “The goals that he scored against us were not great angle goals, but they’re still really good shots… he’s going to score an awful lot of those.”


Bedard has 9 goals on the season.

Panthers score on the power play, twice

When Florida gets an opportunity to go on the powerplay, it hasn’t always been a successful man-advantage this season. Entering Sunday’s game, the Panthers were near the bottom of the league on power-play, scoring just five goals (12.5 percent) in 13 games.


The Panthers went to the power play four times on Sunday and they walked away with their most successful outing this season, scoring twice. 


Sam Reinhart scored Florida’s first power play goal 11:54 into the first period, his fourth on the man-advantage this season. 


Carter Verhaeghe would score the other power play goal and eventual game winner 2:44 into the third period.


With the final score coming down to just one goal, the multi-goal performance on special teams ended up being the difference for the Panthers today. This was the first game all season where the Panthers scored more than once on the power play. 


Sam Bennett returns for his first ‘full game’

The Panthers have been getting results this season and they’ve done it while missing a few of their key players.


Florida was without Sam Bennett for the first seven games of the season as he was dealing with a lower-body injury. 


He made his season debut on Oct. 30 against the Boston Bruins, but only ended up playing eight minutes, as he had to leave the game with a lower-body injury. 


“You never want to be out, especially when I thought I was going to be back playing again,” Bennett said on Sunday. “It was tough there for a while  but I was able to rehab and come back a lot quicker than I was expecting. Happy to be feeling good now.”


In his return to the lineup, Bennett played 16:51 in what was his first full game of the season. 



Florida will be on the road for their next three games as they head to California for a west coast trip against the Sharks, Kings and Ducks. 


Their next home game will be Monday, Nov. 20 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Three Panthers rookies set to get their first taste of the NHL

Another year of Florida Panthers hockey means new opportunities and new faces in Sunrise. 


Three of those new faces are of players who are about to experience their first taste of the National Hockey League with the Panthers opening the season later tonight in Saint Paul against the Minnesota Wild.


Mackie Samoskevich, Uvis Balinskis, and Justin Sourdif all battled through, and impressed in Paul Maurice’s rigorous training camp to crack the Panthers opening day roster — this being the first NHL job for all of them. 


Samoskevich, 20, will have a great chance right away to make his mark and stick around in Sunrise. He’ll most likely be making his NHL debut tonight in the top-9, playing alongside Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart against the Wild. Florida’s 2021 first-round pick expressed his excitement about getting to play in his first NHL game.


“It’s a long time coming, something I’ve set out for for a little bit now,” Samoskevich told reporters on Monday.


And for his upcoming rookie lap, he got a few pointers from his NHL friends. “I got some buddies that had their first already, so just don’t fall and make sure you do your hair before.”


Samoskevich said that he found out last weekend that he’d be sticking around in Sunrise for the start of the season.

“Paul [Maurice] called me in on Saturday before the game, told me I was resting and that I’d probably be in on Thursday (against Minnesota),” Samoskevich said. “[I was] a little pumped about that.”


On the blueline, 27-year-old Uvis Balinskis is still a rookie, but an experienced one at that. The Latvian native comes to South Florida this season after spending the last three seasons in the Czech Extraliga. He also has a few years in the KHL under his belt from his time with Latvian side Dinamo Riga.


In what is to be his first season in North America, Balinskis beat out multiple players with NHL experience to grab the seventh and final defensemen spot out of camp. His impressive finish to the preseason was enough for the Panthers to keep Balinskis in Sunrise. 


“He’s built through his camp,” Maurice said about Balinskis. “I don’t know if surprised is the right word because the pro scouts worked hard to find a player like this, but [we’re] excited about the potential of it.”


Balinskis fits in quite well with the way the Panthers play — active defenseman who looks to headman the puck and push forward the play. 


“We like the way he moves the puck but more like the way he plays the game without any fear,” Maurice added. “He’s trying to make plays, he’s trying to get involved… you can’t feel any nervousness from him.”


The starting six defenseman are set at the moment so Balinskis won’t be getting into his first game just yet. However, as the seventh defenseman,  he may get his moment — whether it’s as an injury replacement or a performance swap — sooner than later.


While Samoskevich is already penciled in the lineup and Balinskis the next man up on the blueline, 21-year-old Justin Sourdif may not get into a game immediately, but the young forward 100 percent earned the right to be on the team out of camp. 


“I’m really happy to be up here with the guys,” Sourdif said on Tuesday after making the team. “While I’m up here I’m just going to try and learn as much as possible and enjoy the experience.”


Florida currently has 14 forwards on their active roster — one of whom is the injured Sam Bennett (day-to-day) that won’t be playing Thursday night in Minnesota, and possibly not at all on this three-game road trip. 


With Bennett temporarily out of the lineup, Sourdif will most likely start the season in Florida as the 13th forward. The youngster from British Columbia entered camp on the outside looking in, but he showed the coaching staff why he deserved to be on the opening day roster.


“Speed first, he’s got a willingness to get into the heavy areas quickly,” Maurice said on Sourdif. “We liked his energy.”


Maurice spoke highly of Sourdif and Samoskevich alike, and alluded to them both getting into their first NHL games eventually. 


“We think there were two good young prospects there who are probably, sooner rather than later, going to make their NHL debuts, he was very good.”


Samoskevich, Balinskis, and Sourdif are waiver eligible, so if the Panthers want to see them get more ice time in the AHL — like they did with Spencer Knight — sending them down to Charlotte will always be in the cards. 


As for now, there’s some great stories to be made for these three rookies.

The Florida Panthers punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers are on their way to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in four games. 


The Panthers took Game 4 by a final score of 4-3 off of Matthew Tkachuk’s game winner with four seconds left in regulation. 


It was a wild night at FLA Live for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes.   


Holding a 3-0 lead, the Panthers had a chance to close out the series at home Wednesday night — which would have booked their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.  


Like all the games in this series, tonight’s went down to the wire. 


It didn’t take the Panthers long to crack open this game and get the crowd off their feet.


Less than a minute into the game, Frederik Andersen made a big first save on an Anthony Duclair one-timer, however Andersen lost track of the puck after the save. Duclair picked up his own rebound and put it past Andersen, putting the Panthers up 1-0 just 41 seconds into the game. 


A little over halfway through the first, the Panthers would take a two-goal.


As the Panthers second power play of the game dwindled down, a broken up shot Aaron Ekblad shot found its way to Matthew Tkachuk in front of the net.


Tkachuk quickly fed the puck through Andersen’s five-hole, putting the Panthers up 2-0, 10:23 into the game. 


The desperate Hurricanes didn’t let Florida’s multi-goal lead last long. Just a few minutes after Tkachuk’s goal, Carolina got one back.  

A shot from near the corner landed in the blue pain behind a sprawling Sergei Bobrovsky. Paul Stasny beat Bobrovsky to the loose puck, cutting the Panthers lead in half with just under seven minutes to go in the period.


The three goal first period tonight was a completely different script from the 1-0 Game 3 we saw on Monday night. 


After an eventful opening 20 minutes, the Panthers took a 2-1 lead to the dressing room. 


As the teams took the ice for the second Carolina was able to get this game even just three minutes into the period.  


Similar to Tkachuk’s goal in the first, a Carolina shot from up high got broken up in front of goal before landing on the stick of Teuvo Teravainen. Teravainen shot the puck over an out of position Bobrovsky, tying the game at 2-2.


Just like that, Florida’s two-goal lead was gone.


With Carolina’s two unanswered goals, the building wasn’t quiet, but it definitely didn’t have the same energy as it did in the first. 


That was a problem that fan favorite Ryan Lomberg was able to solve. 9:49 into the second period, the Panthers fourth line executed one of the  nicest passing plays you’ll see all postseason. 

Lomberg started the play by dishing the puck to Eric Staal down low, who quickly spun it around his body to a wide-open Colin White in front of the Canes net. Rather than forcing a handcuffed shot, White calmly slid the puck over to Lomberg — who tapped in the go ahead goal. Florida went up 3-2, and FLA Live Arena went crazy as you’d expect. 


Lomberg’s goal would be the final one of the period, due in large part to some big saves by Sergei Bobrovsky. As the period came to an end, ‘BOB-BY’ chants echoed through the sold out arena from the Panthers faithful. 


Their team went into the break with a one-goal lead — and 20 minutes away from the Stanley Cup Finals. 


Florida held on to their lead for most of the third, but with 3:22 left, Carolina kept their season alive. 


Jesper Fast put away the game tying goal, and  overtime looked to be on the horizon in Sunrise. 


But the hockey gods seemed to not want extra hockey. 


With just 57 seconds left in regulation, Carolina captain Jordan Staal was sent to the box — giving Florida a last minute power play. 


A goal would mean a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the other option would be another OT game… Matthew Tkachuk said ‘bus in 10’. 


The Panthers star forward came around the net, held out Andersen and put this series to bed. 


With 4.9 seconds remaining, the Florida Panthers took the lead — and the series. 


Florida will have to await the winner of the Vegas-Dallas series to see who their final opponent of the season will be. Vegas currently leads Dallas 3-0.

Florida Panthers win Game 2 in OT, return to Sunrise with 2-0 lead

Less than 48 hours after playing the sixth-longest game in NHL history, the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers were back on the ice in Raleigh for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

As it did in Game 1, this contest went to overtime. Unlike Thursday’s game, tonight they only needed one over time – where the Panthers won 2-1. Once again off of the stick of Matthew Tkachuk.


For the second straight game, Carolina took the first lead of the game. 


Just 1:43 into the first, Sebastian Aho layed a shot from near the boards towards the front of the Panthers’ goal. Hurricanes defenseman Jalen Chatfield, who jumped up in the rush, redirected the Aho shot past Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead.

After Carolina opened the scoring on their first shot of the game, the Panthers appeared to have tied it. 

Gustav Forsling walked in from the point before wiring a redirected shot past Anti Raanta to get the Panthers on the board.

However, this Panthers goal would quickly be removed after Carolina’s challenge for offsides on the zone entry proved to be correct.  


After the overturned Panthers goal, the Canes stepped on the gas. 


For nearly the entire first period, it was Carolina’s game. At the halfway mark of the period, the shots on goal were 13-1 in favor of the Hurricanes. 


If matters couldn’t get worse for the Panthers, Carolina looked like they had taken a two-goal lead in the first.


But as Rod Brind’Amour did earlier in the game, Paul Maurice challenged the play for offsides. 


Florida’s challenge was successful, wiping Jack Drury’s goal off the board. The Canesead was still one. 

Trailing by one goal heading into the second, the Panthers pulled a repeat of Game 1 —  getting on  as the board with a goal. 

The Barkov line has been outstanding this postseason at getting the Cats back into games, and oddly enough, it’s happened quite often in the second period. 


7:43 into the second, Florida’s captain put himself on the highlight reel. Coming down alone on Raanta, Barkov faked a between the legs shot before pulling the puck to his backhand, beating the Canes’ goalie to tie it at 1-1. 


Barkov’s goal would be the only one scored in the period. The teams went to the break tied. 


An early storyline in this has been the desire of these two teams to play more hockey than required… ok not really but for a second straight game, regulation would not be enough in Raleigh. 


After a 4 OT thriller on Thursday, the Canes and Panthers went to overtime again, and luckily for everyone this OT lasted only minutes. 


Matthew Tkachuk sent the Panthers to the hotel up 1-0 in the series after Game 1. Tonight he sent the Cats back to Sunrise with a 2-0 series lead. 


1:51 into OT with the Panthers on the powerplay, the Cats executed a tic-tac-toe play with Tkachuk putting away the winner. This was Florida’s first goal on the power play in the series, and it couldn’t come at a better time. 


After taking both games on the road, the Panthers head back home for Games 3 & 4. This is the first time in 27 years that Panthers’ fans can see their team play in the Conference Finals at home.

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Five Takeaways from Panthers’ Game 1 loss to Bruins

The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs is officially underway and the Presidents’ Trophy winning Boston Bruins played host to the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Monday night for Game 1 of their first round series. 


The Bruins defended their home ice with a 3-1 win over the Panthers; taking a 1-0 series lead. 


Here are the takeaways. 

Battle of the stars

The two best players in this series are David Pastrnak of the Bruins and Matthew Tkachuk of the Panthers. 


Tkachuk and Pastrnak were the only players from the two teams to score 100 points this season, with Pastrnak finishing with 113 and Tkachuk with 109.

The Bruins’ star winger continued in Game 1 what he did all season, score. Following his 61 goal regular season, Pastrnak got his first goal of the playoffs just 5:58 into the first period, with an open net tap in on the power play, putting the Bruins up 1-0.


Like his fellow Atlantic Division All-Star, Tkachuk got his first goal of the playoffs tonight in Boston. Tkachuk jumped in on the forecheck, corralled a loose puck and pulled a backhand forehand move to beat Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark, getting the Panthers on the board. 


Coming into the series we highlighted these two guys as players to watch, they didn’t disappoint tonight. 


Rough bounces for Alex Lyon gave the Bruins breathing room

Florida decided to run with their hot hand in net for Game 1, giving Alex Lyon his first NHL playoff start. 


In Game 1, Lyon made more than a few highlight reel saves. Glove saves, cross crease pad robberies, he made them all.


Unfortunately for Lyon, between all the great saves, there were a few bad bounces here and there that put the Panthers in a hole.


3:41 into the second, Brad Marchand sent a fairly weak wrist shot towards the Panthers’ goal. Lyon fluffed the routine glove save and the puck trickled in, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead. 


Later in the period with the Bruins leading by just one, it seemed like Lyon had covered a loose puck in his crease, but that wasn’t the case. 


After a few whacks in front, the puck perfectly landed on top of Lyon’s pad and sat there for a few seconds before Jake DeBrusk tapped it in to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. 

Florida’s top line was awfully quiet

The Panthers top line of Carter Verhaeghe, Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair should have had a bigger impact than they did tonight. 


Verhaeghe finished the regular season top 10 in the NHL for goals with 42 while Barkov had another PPG season. 


The Panthers captain went the entire game without a shot on goal and frankly wasn’t very noticeable tonight besides his 52% success rate in the face off circle. 


The rest of the line wasn’t much better. Anthony Duclair had the most “quality” looks out of the trio, but he still wasn’t able to threaten Ullmark. 


Florida needed offense badly in this game and they didn’t get any help from their number one line. 

Florida’s first round power play drought continues 

The Panthers did not score a single goal in last year’s first round series against Washington – yet they were still able to get out of that series in six games. The Cats only scored one goal on 31 power play chances in last season’s playoffs. 


Tonight the Panthers once again struck out on their mad-advantage, going 0/2. The Bruins were able to lock the Cats up on their second PP attempt, not giving them a moment to set up. 


It was pretty much the same story when Florida pulled the goalie for an extra attacker with about 3 minutes left in the game. 

Linus Ullmark shut the door

Boston’s starting goalie should be the favorite to win the Vezina, he was that good in the regular season. 


Tonight it was no different. 


Florida didn’t get “goalied” tonight, as the Bruins played a fairly complete team game. However, Ullmark still had to face 32 shots from a Panthers team who was firing pucks from pretty much everywhere in the o-zone. 


Ullmark made the saves he needed tonight and he got the goal support from his team, which was enough for Boston to take an early series lead 

Matthew Tkachuk speaking to media

5 Takeaways from Panthers loss to Senators

OTTAWA – With just nine games left in the regular season, the Panthers began their last road trip of the year in Canada’s capital as they took on the Ottawa Senators. 


With both Atlantic Division teams chasing a playoff spot, and being separated by just four points entering Monday night, it seemed like this would be a must win game for both teams as the season quickly dwindles down. 


At one point tonight it was a one goal contest however, a late power play goal from Ottawa put the dagger in Florida, as the Sens defeated Florida 5-2.


Florida has lost four straight games and are quickly slipping out of the chase for a Wild Card spot.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways:

Playing catch-up from the jump

For the fourth straight game the Panthers trailed by multiple goals. This time, they were down 2-0 after the first period. 


Ottawa didn’t have a plethora of chances in the first with just eight shots on goal. Despite that, they were able to capitalize on their chances. 


The Sens very well could have been up by another goal or two if it wasn’t for Sergei Bobrovsky bailing out the Panthers on odd-man rushes in the first frame. 


Looking at the standings, tonight was probably a must-win game for the Senators, and they played like it all game, but most evidently in the opening 20 minutes. 

The one-timer’s beat Bob

The Panthers’ goalie has had to play a lot of minutes this season and he’s kept his team in many of those games. 


Tonight he made some miraculous saves when his team was trailing by multiple goals. 


Yet, the kryptonite for Bob against the Sens was their shots from one-timers. 


Ottawa scored three of their four non-empty net goals off of one-timers, albeit two of those came with the man-advantage. The Sens used the open space to tee up their top scorers and they didn’t pass up the opportunity. 


Brady Tkachuk, DeBrincat and Stutzle’s goals were all one-timer slapshots. 


Ottawa’s power play went to work

Ottawa looked their best tonight when they were on the man-advantage. 


They were able to make use of the extra man, working the puck from the top down low. Their second goal of the game came off of a broken play which saw Eric Staal’s stick break and Gustav Forsling take a puck to the face before Erik Brannstrom found the back of the net to make it 2-0. 


Florida looked to be the dominant team in the second period, holding a 1-0 score advantage in that frame, up until Ottawa went back to the power play with under three minutes left in the period. 


Once again, Ottawa worked the puck around the zone until they found an open man and Alex DeBrincat didn’t waste his chance, blasting a one-timer past Sergei Bobrovsky to make the game 3-1. 


The final blow to Florida came in the final minutes when Anton Lundell received a penalty for playing the puck with his glove on the faceoff. 


Ottawa’s red-hot power play went back to work one last time and they iced the game with Tim Stuzle’s 36th goal of the season. 


The Sens scored on three of their four power plays tonight. Only one of their five goals came at 5-on-5. 


The Battle of the Tkachuks

It’s always a spectacle when the Tkachuk brothers take the ice against each other, even more so now that they are in the same division. 


Matthew took the upper hand in October when the two sides matched up in Sunrise, besting Brady’s goal with a three-point performance in a 5-3 Panthers victory. 


As the Tkachuk bowl entered round two in Brady’s neck of the woods, the Senators captain wasted no time letting his big brother know who runs this town. 


9:02 into the first period, off of a beautiful feed from Thomas Chabot, Brady fired a one-timer past Bobrovsky to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. 


Throughout the night, the Ottawa faithful directed their “Brady’s better” chants towards the older Tkachuk brother. 


Brady got the final laugh tonight with his two point performance and the win. Matthew finished the game with nothing on the scoreboard. 


Gustav Forsling’s goal scoring performance kept Florida alive 

An unlikely offensive lifeline for the Panthers tonight was defenseman Gustav Forsling. 


Twice in the game Florida found themselves trailing by two goals and both times the player who answered the call was the Swedish defenseman. His pair of goals looked nearly identical; both being slap shots from the point. 


After getting on the board twice Forsling was jumping up in the play to try and create something offensively with the game being 3-2. 


Unfortunately for the team, it was only Forsling who found the back of the net in Ottawa. He sits at 12 goals on the year, a new career-high.

Five Takeaways from Panthers’ dominating win over Canadiens

SUNRISE: The Florida Panthers put a close to their 2022 at home tonight with a dominant 7-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Panthers will play Friday night in Carolina before starting the new year at home against the New York Rangers.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways: 


Barkov returns with a career-night

The Panthers were without captain Aleksaner Barkov for three games after he was injured Dec. 17 in New Jersey.


In his first game back since the injury, Barkov did not wait long to put his stamp on the game. 2:37 into the first, Barkov took a point-shot from Gustav Forsling off the leg, and into the Habs net. 


Later in the period, with the Panthers on the power play, Barkov let a shot fly from the circle and buried it past Montreal goalie Sam Montembeault. 


Still in the first period, with Barkov now on hat trick watch, No. 16 put away his third goal of the period, and the hats rained from the rafters of FLA Live Arena.


Barkov finished his night back with 5 points, tying his career-high.


The boys are back in town – Gudas, Barkov, Ekblad

A few weeks ago it seemed like every night there was another player coming out of the Panthers lineup, while AHL call ups were coming in.


After a few additional days without a game following the holiday break, the Panthers got some of their big boys back; Barkov, Ekblad and Gudas.


Barkov had five points tonight, while Ekblad and Gudas shaped what has often been a depleted blue line this season. 


“The guy had no points but Radko Gudas has a huge impact on that game tonight in terms of the minutes we have to play the other defenseman,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “Having those guys come back, it felt a little bit like the first game of the season in some ways, so there’s an excitement going out.”


Let the power play bells ring

With Florida having what was as close to a full lineup as possible tonight, they had all their top guns out there on power play unit 1. 


The top unit delivered tonight, scoring on three of their attempts of the game, on goals from Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk (x2). 

With Montreal also having luck tonight on the power play, these goals were important for Florida. 


Matthew Tkachuk increases his team lead in points

It was a quiet few days for Matthew Tkachuk as the Panthers forward was going through his worst scoring drought of the season… three games. 


Tkachuk made up for lost time tonight with four points, including two goals on the power play, right in front of the net.


“I think he was raised right to be at the net,” Aleksander Barkov said. “He knows where to be and what to do there, so it’s great to have that type of guy on the team.”


The 25-year-old now has team-high 44 points in just 33 games this season.


Tonight’s game felt a lot more like last year’s Panthers team

The 2021-2022 Panthers scored more goals than any team in the 2000’s. This year’s team however hasn’t been able to run away with games like they did last year.


Florida had a jump in their step from puck-drop and it looked like they were hungrier on the puck than Montreal. 


Led by Barkov’s first period hat trick and an early second period goal by Matthew Tkachuk, Florida was in the driver’s seat.


The icing on the cake was an extremely dominating third period by the Cats, where they scored three goals while preventing Montreal from generating anything around Bobrovsky even-strength.  


The night ended with a mid third period Pepas appearance, a seven goal performance and a “we want 10” chant from the Sunrise crowd.  

Five Takeaways from Panthers’ loss to Devils

SUNRISE:  Two days after losing 7-3 in Boston, the Panthers dropped their second game in a row to the New Jersey Devils 4-2 at FLA Live Arena.


The visiting Devils were able to snap their six game losing streak, while the Panthers have dropped three of their last four games at home. 


Here’s tonight’s takeaways:


Eric Staal scores in consecutive games

This December has been a good one for Eric Staal.


The veteran forward has tallied 8 points in 11 games this month. In the 16 previous games, he failed to get a single point on the scoresheet. 


After signing with the team towards the end of October, the Panthers have had to rely on his services frequently with all the injuries they have suffered. It was a rough start to his Panthers career, however his recent production in the stat column has been fairly consistent heading into the holiday break


Florida gets Anton Lundell back  

The 21-year-old center has missed the last nine games due to a non-COVID illness. Tonight was the first game Lundell has played since Dec. 1 in Vancouver. 


The Finn didn’t seem to have any issue jumping back into the flow of things tonight. He played 14 minutes and was able to get on the scoresheet with an assist on Eetu Luostarinen’s goal.


“[It] felt great, it’s been a really long time. Tough time to be out,” Lundell said. “I’m finally happy that I’m able to join the team.”


He was also penalized with his first career NHL fight, though Lundell wasn’t sure if he’d count it as a tilt. 


“I don’t know if it counts as a fight or a wrestling match but whatever,” he added. 


Mackenzie Blackwood flipped the script of the game with key saves in the third

The Devils goaltender ended the night with 34 saves on 36 shots. 


The Panthers really peppered him around the front of goal, however he stood tall to keep it a one goal game when the Devils were trailing 2-1. 


He was able to make a flashy glove save on Ryan Lomberg in front of his goal. If that went in, the Panthers would have taken a two goal lead.


Less than a minute after that big save, the Devils went the other way and tied the game of of Jesper Bratt’s second goal of the game. 


With the Panthers down 3-2, they pulled the goalie for an extra attacker in the dying minutes of the third. The Cats had chances in high-scoring areas, but Blackwood slammed the door and the Devils put away the game with an empty netter. 


Sam Bennett’s puck control game was on full display

A big standout for me tonight was Sam Bennett’s composure on the puck. 


As the Panthers moved up the ice in transition, Bennett was really good at weaving around the Devil’s players to open up the ice. 


When Eetu Luostarinen scored to put the Panthers up 2-1 in the second, Bennett diced through the neutral zone, chipped the puck to himself on the boards, avoided a check and spun into open ice to hit a streaking Luostarinen. 


A huge part of Bennett’s game is his skating ability with the puck. That was evident tonight. 


Eetu Luostarinen gets one goal closer to surpassing his career-high 

It’s been a sort of breakout year for 24-year-old Eetu Luostarinen. 


He played the majority of last season as the fourth line center, which meant his ice time wasn’t ideal to showcase his skills. 


This season he was pushed up to the top-9 as a winger. With the increased ice time and role on the team, Luostarinen has shined. 


Last year, he finished the season with 9 goals in 78 games. In his 34th game of this season, Luostarinen buried his 8th.


He’s just one goal away from equaling his career-high goal total and we aren’t at the halfway point of the season yet. Luostarinen is on pace to shatter last year’s goal total. 

Five Takeaways from Panthers’ loss to Penguins

SUNRISE: The Panthers were back at home on Thursday night to faceoff against the red hot Pittsburgh Penguins, who came to Sunrise riding a six-game win streak.


Backstopped by a strong goaltending performance and a multi-point night from their captain Sidney Crosby, the Penguins defeated the Panthers 4-2, extending their win streak to seven.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways: 

The illness bug continues to bite the Panthers

Injuries aside, because this team is heavily affected by it, the Panthers have been getting hammered by the “non-COVID” illness bug. 


Florida has seen many of their big time players miss time due to illness over the last few weeks. 


Last game Carter Verhaeghe was out of the lineup; Anton Lundell hasn’t played since Dec. 1 in Vancouver, and Spencer Knight just returned to the lineup tonight after nine days. 

The Panthers had to play tonight’s game without their leading scorer Matthew Tkachuk, who is out with… an illness.


Florida had to roll 11 forwards tonight, even with today’s call up of Aleksi Heponiemi. 


Even strength scoring belonged to the Panthers

In a 4-2 loss, Florida came out on top in one category – 5-on-5 goals. 


Both of Florida’s goals tonight came at even-strength. Their opponent on the other hand, didn’t score a single one of their goals at 5-on-5.


All four of the Penguins’ goals came when they were either up a man, or down.

Pittsburgh scored twice on the power play, once shorthanded and iced the game with an empty net goal when Florida had an extra attacker. 


Tonight was a goalie battle

For fans of the man in the crease, this was the game to watch. Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry and Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky both battled hard to keep their team’s in the game.


For the visiting team, Jarry was the star of the game for Pittsburgh. The Pens goaltender had 32 saves on the night and kept the Panthers special teams off the scoresheet. 


Florida had a flurry of good looks in the second period, but Jarry slammed the door shut, as Pittsburgh took that period 2-0. 


On the other end of the ice, Sergei Bobrovsky started his fifth straight game, finishing the night with 35 saves and three goals against, two of which came from a Pittsburgh powerplay. 


Both goaltenders saw multiple odd-man rushes tonight and respectively followed many of those chances with big time saves.  


Ryan Lomberg played a solid game with a depleted forward lineup

Ryan Lomberg always puts in a valiant effort no matter how much ice time he gets. With 11 forwards in the lineup, two of which just came from the AHL over the last few days, the Panthers played Lomberg over 14 minutes tonight.


The 5 ‘9 forward started the game off hot with his linemate Eric Staal. The pair seemed to have a lot of chemistry with each other tonight and it paid off as they connected for the first goal of the game.

A falling Staal was able to get the puck towards goal before Lomberg was able to beat Jarry up high on a tough angle. 


Lomberg plays a fast, hard fore-checking game and tonight it was evident on how much work he does along the boards and corners.


Florida lost the game on special teams

While winning the even strength game tonight, Florida’s downfall was their special teams performance.


With the lineup having so many guys going in and out this week, the Cats had to do lots of line juggling for the special teams units. 


“We have had a different power play unit pretty much every game for the last four,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurcice said. “Start putting that together at five o’clock because the guys are coming to our lineup so late.”


On the penalty kill, Florida conceded two goals as the Penguins finished the night 2/3 on the power play. 


Florida had three power play chances of their own, however not only did they go 0/3 on the  man-advantage, they also gave up a shorthanded goal to Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, which tied the game at one early in the second period.


The special teams battle killed the Panthers who played a relatively strong even-strength game.