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Anthony Stolarz Does it All for Florida Panthers. Again



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Florida Panthers goaltender Anthony Stolarz stops a shot from Brady Tkachuk as Sam Bennett says hello. The Panthers won 2-0 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

SUNRISE — Anthony Stolarz did it all for the Florida Panthers in a 2-0 shutout victory over the Ottawa Senators.

He helped the Panthers score with 7:58 to go in the first, slinging a stretch pass to send Anton Lundell on a breakaway.

Lundell promptly slipped the puck through Joonas Korpisalo’s 5-hole to give the Panthers a lead they never relinquished.

“We were joking in the locker room that we haven’t seen that pass from our own defensemen this season, and he comes up with that pass,” Lundell said. 

“That was a real pass, you know? He saw that I was open and got it right on the tape.

“He’s a great goalie. Sometimes you think he’s the third D-man. He sees the ice very well. He’s calm with the puck; very good with the puck, he passes hard. He has patience. Some goalies just try to make a simple play and try to get the puck out of their hands, but [Stolarz] almost enjoys keeping the puck.”

Stolarz did his job on the other end as well, stopping all 25 shots he faced to help the Panthers to their second win in the past five days over the Senators.

He picked up the fourth assist of his career and his second shutout of the season in the process.

”It’s exciting, and I would like to add a goal to that, but at the end of the day, shutouts are the most important thing,” Stolarz said.

“It’s kind of like a team stat. We really strive [to be] a defensive team and I think to put up a zero kind of shows how hard we’re going to work. Maybe we weren’t even our best tonight, but at the end of the day we grinded through it and we were able to shut them down.”

Stolarz is not used to getting the call, let alone being the standout player in big games down the stretch.

The 30-year-old found himself as the No. 2 or 3 goalie on the depth chart for some struggling Anaheim Ducks teams for the past two seasons.

The Panthers, who are still looking to stave off the Toronto Maple Leafs for the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic and home ice in the first round, needed a good performance out of him.

They got it, and continue to maintain a three-point lead in the standings.

“I’m usually packing up right now and getting ready to go home. To be in the hunt – and in [the] playoffs is huge and exciting,” Stolarz said.

“It’s why you go out here. These games mean a lot, trying to play for positioning. You always want to stay ready. Tonight, I felt like the guys did a good job, but I felt really good.”

While he has not gone as far as unseating Sergei Bobrovsky for Florida’s No. 1 job, he has certainly played well enough to trust him like he is one.

“[Stolarz’s value] is immeasurable because, beyond the numbers, which are League-leading in some departments, he has also been in a really important relationship guy with Sergei,” coach Paul Maurice said.

“They get along incredibly well – support each other, cheer each other – and that is a really important thing for Sergei. At his age, to have somebody to cheer for and that cheers for him. They’re unique. They got a really good thing going. I’m happy for Anthony. He’s worked hard to change his game to get better.”

League-leading indeed.

Stolarz is 15-7-2 in 23 starts and leads the NHL in save percentage (.925) and goals-against average (2.03) among goalies who have played at least 20 games.

And his teammates believe the pending free agent could accomplish even more if the opportunity arises.

“If you’re judging by his games this year, absolutely,” Sam Bennett said when asked if Stolarz can be a starter in the NHL. 

“I don’t know many teams that wouldn’t want him in their net, so he could play goalie for any team.”

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:



  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL/Panthers App
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season (Florida leads 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Jackets 4 OT (Nov.6); Thursday. At Columbus: Panthers 5, Blue Jackets 2 (Dec. 10)
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Columbus leads 26-19-4
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Buffalo, 5 p.m.
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