The Carolina Hurricanes saw their quest to become the first NHL team to start a season 10-0 in 15 years came to a crashing end Saturday night as the Florida Panthers scored four in the first period and rolled to a 5-2 win.
The Panthers did all this despite being without leading goal scorer Sasha Barkov who was a late scratch with an undisclosed lower body injury.
After the game, coach Andrew Brunette said it was something that had flared up on Barkov and it’s not considered serious. Barkov was in the lineup up until warmups.
With the win, the Panthers are now the lone team in the NHL without regulation loss as they improved to 10-0-1 — which is the best start in franchise history.
The 1996-97 team started 8-0 with four ties giving them 20 points.
The 1993-94 Maple Leafs and 2006-07 Sabres remain the only teams to start a season 10-0. Carolina’s 9-0 start is tied for third-best all-time and Florida’s 8-0 start this season is tied for fifth.
Against the Hurricanes, Florida benefited from three power play opportunities (not counting one for 16 seconds) in the opening period.
Last season, the Panthers scored three goals on 35 chances in eight games against Caorlina.
Saturday, the Panthers matched that total in the opening period.
Florida got things going 2:28 into the game on its first power play chance as Anthony Duclair — who seemingly was everywhere on the ice this night — rifled off a Carter Verhaeghe pass from the left circle.
Midway through the period, the Panthers got their second real power play chance of the night and Frank Vatrano lit into a Brandon Montour feed for a 2-0 lead.
Anton Lundell got Florida’s lone goal on 5-on-5 play at 13:14 of the first, taking the puck off the stick of Ian Cole in the slot, working around until Frederik Andersen got out of position and sent a nice shot into what was now, basically, an empty net of his own creation.
Two minutes later, on the third power play, Patric Hornqvist positioned himself in front and a couple quick passes from Verhaeghe and Duclair found him for a 4-0 lead.
Andersen stuck around for the rest of the period, but was pulled to start the second.
He would return.
In the second, Antti Raanta was hurt when he and Ryan Lomberg collided as both were moving in on a puck. Lomberg was racing Tony DeAngelo and Raanta came way out of the crease to play it, even throwing his arm at Lomberg as he moved through.
Andersen ended up replacing Raanta after he was slow to get up off the ice and had to be helped to the bench.
After review, Lomberg was hit with a five-minute major for charging and a 10-minute misconduct.
Carolina, now down 4-1, had five minutes to score as many power play goals as they could.
The Hurricanes got one — and it came from Vincent Trocheck who now has seven goals against his former mates since the 2020 trade.
Florida went into the third up 4-2 — not great but not bad considering what it weathered in the second and how it was playing.
The Panthers could have been scored a couple in the second — Duclair, Verhaeghe and Gus Forsling had a couple of notable scoring chances — but could not find the back of the net.
Florida finally found its fifth goal but it did not come until there were 58.5 seconds left in the game when Duclair got No. 2 by flying in on an empty net. The Panthers had numerous chances to get that fifth goal but simply could not.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT
1. Anthony Duclair, Florida
2.Anton Lundell, Florida
3. Spencer Knight, Florida
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT NEW YORK RANGERS
- WHEN: Monday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: Madison Square Garden, New York
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560-AM
- Last season: Did not play