The Florida Panthers had seven power play chances in their game against the host Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night and only cashed in once.
Usually that would mean disaster.
Not this night.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored the lone power play goal and added one on a shorthanded chance that was started by a Keith Yandle turnover as the Panthers stayed perfect to start the 2021-22 NHL season with a 4-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
Florida is 5-0 going into its game Monday against the Arizona Coyotes in Sunrise.
The storyline coming into Saturday was the reunion between the Panthers and Yandle — and the former Florida defenseman looked a little salty at being bought out a few months back.
In the first period, Yandle tripped up Eetu Luostarinen after a play had ended and later took a cross-checking penalty.
Other than that, however, it was your normal Saturday night game in South Philly as the Panthers and Flyers got reacquainted with one another after a few months away.
Florida got the first goal of the night — as it had in its previous four games — with Huberdeau scoring on the Panthers’ second power play chance of the game.
Huberdeau, who again said he knows he needs to shoot the puck more, did just that as he moved in after taking a pass from Aaron Ekblad and ripped off a nice wrist shot from the left circle.
The Panthers had a lot of chances in the first period after withstanding a few from Philadelphia early.
The Flyers, obviously, did not like their opening 20 and came out firing in the second.
Claude Giroux tied the score at 4:23 by going high on Sergei Bobrovsky (27 saves) before the Panthers got another power play chance.
This one didn’t go Florida’s way.
The Panthers struggled to keep the puck in the Flyers zone but the one time they did, Cam Atkinson snared a Sam Reinhart and was off to the races.
Atkinson walked in on his old pal from Columbus — sliding the puck between Bobrovsky’s skates for a 2-1 lead at 10:53.
The shorthanded goal was Atkinson’s 17th of his career; the first 16 came in Columbus.
Florida would tie things up and get something out of a rough-looking second when MacKenzie Weegar charged the net, threw a pass across and found Owen Tippett at the cage.
The puck went off of a sliding Tippett’s skate, but no matter: It counts as Tippett’s first goal of the season.
Florida, which really struggled on the power play save for Huberdeau’s first goal, got a boost on its penalty kill in a physical and feisty third.
With Lundell in the box for the second time — for a phantom elbow — the Flyers looked to take the lead.
Yandle made a soft cross-ice pass at the top of the zone, something he had done numerous times with the Panthers. No one was there. The puck bounced off the wall and Sam Bennett intercepted it.
Bennett and Huberdeau charged up the ice with numbers, Huberdeau having his initial shot stopped by Carter Hart.
But Huberdeau pounced on the rebound, getting his second of the night and giving Florida the lead back for the first time since early in the second period.
The Flyers put on a full-court press in the final minutes of the game, but Lundell got control of the puck with the empty net, got it to Mason Marchment who fed Reinhart for the final goal of the night with 1:12 remaining.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida
2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
3. MacKenzie Weegar, Florida
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
ARIZONA COYOTES AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Monday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560-AM
- 2021 regular season series: Did not play