Regardless of who has been at center, the Florida Panthers third line continues to produce and did so again on Wednesday night as they accounted for the team’s first two goals in a tight game against the Boston Bruins in Sunrise.
Florida got goals from Mason Marchment and Eetu Luostarinen — both set up off nice passes from Sam Reinhart — as the Panthers overcame a sluggish start to remain unbeaten with a 4-1 win over the Bruins.
The Panthers continue their hot stretch to kick off the 2021-22 season as they head to Detroit riding a seven-game winning streak to start.
Florida’s best start in franchise history prior to this season was their 3-0 run earlier this year to open the 2021 campaign.
Coach Joel Quenneville will leave the team Thursday to have his meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York to discuss his role in the explosive Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault investigation.
He did not speak to the media Wednesday night; GM Bill Zito read a prepared statement instead. More on that later.
Florida will fly to Detroit on Thursday afternoon.
On the ice, the Panthers played a solid but not spectacular game — well, Anthony Duclair’s goal was spectacular — against the Bruins, a team Florida has struggled against in the past.
Thanks to yet another outstanding performance from Sergei Bobrovsky (28 saves) in goal, however, the Panthers did not have to do all that much offensively.
Florida found itself trailing just 2:32 into the game when Charlie Coyle banked a shot from the backboards off Bobrovsky’s stick and through.
The Panthers, score notwithstanding, got off to a really slow start Wednesday as the Bruins dictated the pace of play and dictated the time of possession throughout the opening period.
Florida, which was being outshot 12-2 at the time of the Coyle goal, managed to tie the score on its fourth shot of the night — a wicked wrister from Marchment as he flew off the bench on a line change and hammered the pass from Reinhart.
The Panthers were being outshot 13-4 then and ended the period down 15-5.
The second was a different story, although Florida only got one goal out of it.
In the second, the Panthers ended up outshooting the Bruins 14-2 (and this is with no power play time) as the possession meter jumped into the Florida zone.
Florida, per NaturalStatTrick.com, had 11 scoring chances to two for Boston in the second period.
The Panthers took their first lead of the game just two minutes into the period on Luostarinen’s first goal of the season.
Luostarinen, who filled in for Anton Lundell on the third line in camp and for the past two games, charged in and took a pass while standing in front of the net from Reinhart and put it off of Linus Ullmark.
The Panthers got yet another strong game from Bobrovsky as he was able to keep his team within striking distance with some really big saves throughout.
Through the first two periods, the Bruins had eight high-danger shot attempts with Bobrovsky throwing all but one of them back.
Up 2-1, the Panthers finally got a little room to stretch on Duclair’s unreal goal. Duclair drove in on Ullmark, just barely slipping the puck between the goalie’s skate and the cage — all while flying through the air.
With 25.4 seconds left, Owen Tippett ended it with an empty net goal.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
2. Eetu Luostarinen, Florida
3. Anthony Duclair, Florida
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT DETROIT RED WINGS
- WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- STREAMING ONLY: ESPN+ and Hulu
- RADIO: WQAM 560-AM
- 2021 regular season series: Florida won 6-2