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Florida Panthers GameDay

Fast Start, ‘Big Game Bob’ Lift Florida Panthers Over Vegas



Panthers vegas
Josh Mahura and Nick Cousins celebrate with the Florida Panthers’ 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky on Tuesday night in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers did not do anything fancy, did not do anything flashy in their game Tuesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.

But they did do a lot of good things.

That led to a key 2-1 win over the Knights continuing to keep themselves in the playoff conversation.

“It was a really good win for us because, once again, we beat a really good opponent,” said Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 31 saves as he held his opponent to a single goal for a second consecutive night.

”We have a really balanced team throughout the lineup and I thought the guys did a great job. It was a complete game: They fought hard, competed, the sticks were there, they backchecked.

“All the little things, we did. People may not really appreciate those things, but they build up to wins. All the little things add up and at the end of the day, it got us a win.”

With the two wild card holders — the Islanders and Penguins — both winning on Tuesday night as well, Florida finds itself coming into the day four points back of New York and three behind Pittsburgh.

Which is how the Panthers started the day.

At least they did not lose any ground.

“It means a lot because every game is huge for us,” said Sasha Barkov, who now has three points in two games back from missing three with his hand injury which still keeps him from doing much in the faceoff circle.

“We want to win every game but it’s one game at a time, one period at a time. That’s what we’re doing here. I feel like we could have played better, especially in the second, but Bob was excellent as always. He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”

The Panthers, obviously, find themselves in a tough situation when it comes to the playoff race as they do not control their own destiny — not with so many teams around them having games in hand.

But if Florida continues to do the right things on a nightly basis, and, of course, continues to be on the right end of the scoreboard, it can get where it wants to go.

Confidence appears to be genuinely building within the room.

“It couldn’t be higher. All year long it has been there,’’ said Ryan Lomberg, who gave Florida a 1-0 lead with his ninth goal of the season.

“The results haven’t always been there, but a lot of the time, the work and the details have been there. There is no doubt in this room what we are capable of. We just have to go out there and do it now.”

The Panthers got off to a terrific start in the game and should have found themselves up a couple of goals if it was not for Vegas goalie Adin Hill.

Hill has been terrific for the Knights of late as he set the franchise record with 47 saves on Friday night against the Devils.

On Tuesday night, he was all Vegas had in the opening 20 minutes as Florida had a 1-0 lead going into the break.

Earlier in the year, Florida almost certainly would have let the frustration of not scoring get to it and Vegas would have come back.

Up 2-0 after Barkov blistered a pass from Anthony Duclair, Vegas got a power play goal at 13:23 of the second and we had a game in Sunrise.

Florida clamped down in the third, however, and the Golden Knights never got closer as they saw their three-game winning streak come to a close.

“The game got tight, they are a good team and they are going to turn it up,’’ Paul Maurice said. “But I thought we handled it physically in the third period. We had a bunch of guys who had big third periods.

“We were fast in the first period by how we moved the puck out and how we moved our feet. It was really simple.”

The Panthers have now won their past two games and have an interesting set of games coming up this weekend.

Florida will play a rare back-to-back home set as this odd seven-game homestand rambles on.

The Panthers get the loosey goosey Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night before Maurice’s pals from Winnipeg are here on Saturday.

Chicago did the Panthers a solid on Monday night by thumping the Senators and are looking to take a chunk out of Florida’s playoff hopes on Friday.

The Blackhawks, despite their standing, already beat the Panthers once this season.

Winnipeg is likely a playoff team and needs this one on Saturday — so the Jets would also like to knock the Panthers down a peg.

Games are going to be like this the rest of the way.

“For the last chunk of games, there has been no doubt that guys are going to show up,’’ Lomberg said.

“These are all big games and this was a big win for us. No surprise they guys came ready to play.”

He had better be right, or the Panthers are going to pay for it this weekend.

They certainly came to play on Tuesday — and everyone saw the result.



  • When: Friday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 2-0
  • This season (Chicago leads 1-0): Blackhawks 4, Panthers 2 (Oct. 25)
  • All-time regular season series: Blackhawks lead 28-17-4, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Winnipeg, 7 p.m.

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