The Florida Panthers brought only four NHL regulars to Raleigh on Saturday and saw two of them score in a 4-3 exhibition loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Florida drops to 1-3 this preseason with the loss. The Panthers play host to the Lightning on Thursday night.
Two goals from Brent Burns in his preseason debut with the Hurricanes — including the eventual game-winner with 11 minutes to go — propelled the Hurricanes to a win.
Carolina jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period, scoring twice in the first 12 minutes of the game.
Burns got them started with a floater from above the face-off circle 6:12 in while Andrei Svechnikov followed it up with a wiretap shot on an odd-man rush six minutes later.
The Hurricanes led 12-0 in shots through the first intermission against a Panthers group ladened with AHL-bound players.
Florida got itself back in the game with contributions from the few NHL regulars in the second period.
Rudolfs Balcers got them started with a wrist shot off of a feed from Chris Tierney 48 seconds into the frame. Ryan Lomberg muscled a backhand shot in through traffic four minutes later to tie the game up.
Charlotte Checkers captain Zac Dalpe scored a power play goal off of a feed from Eetu Luostarinen to give the Panthers their first lead of the game with 10:44 to go in the second period.
That lead would only last five minutes. Martin Necas fired a one-timer from the face-off dot with 5:16 to go in the second to tie things up at three.
Burns put the Hurricanes ahead with 11 minutes to go with a shot that deflected off of Matt Kiersted’s skate and in.
Here are my takeaways from Saturday afternoon’s game:
- Spencer Knight looked sharp, making multiple big saves on 2-on-0 rushes to keep the Panthers in the game. He finished the afternoon with 43 saves on 47 shots (.915).
- Eetu Luostarinen had a lot more jump to his game in the offensive zone. He was creating offense with his passing and had two of Florida’s 10 shots.
- After this afternoon’s game, Florida’s opening night lineup should be a whole lot clearer. Grigori Denisenko especially seems to be on the outside looking in after struggling to keep possession of the puck multiple times.
- Santtu Kinnunen seems to have a future as a power play quarterback. He moves the puck smoothly and his swift lateral movement allows him to speed up the cycle game.
- Anton Levtchi showed off his playmaking ability on multiple occasions. He set up Lomberg’s goal from behind the Carolina net and started multiple rushes by finding his teammates in transition.
- Spencer Knight had another busy night for the Panthers as he faced 47 shots in the game — including 19 in the third period. Florida, which got off only two shots in the first, ended with a grand total of 10.
FLORIDA PANTHERS PRESEASON
Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers
Where, When: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise; Thursday, 7 p.m.
Tickets: CLICK HERE
2022 Preseason — Sept. 26: Florida 4, Nashville 3 (OT); Nashville 4, Florida 0. Sept. 29: Carolina 5, Florida 2. Oct. 1: Carolina 4, Florida 3. Thursday: vs. Tampa Bay, 7 p.m. Saturday: at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m
Regular Season Opener: Oct. 13 at New York Islanders