After Tuesday night’s game in Arizona, it should have been little doubt what the Florida Panthers focused on in practice the following day in San Jose.
“Practice was just penalty killing today,” coach Paul Maurice said.
The Panthers’ lack of success on the power play has garnered plenty of attention — as it should.
Florida struggled on the man advantage so badly in the playoffs that then-coach Andrew Brunette said it would haunt him throughout the summer.
Well, things have not gotten much better as the Panthers came into Wednesday ranked 30th in the 32-team league on the power play, scoring four goals for a paltry 9.1 percent success rate.
To compound things, the Panthers’ penalty kill is ranked 27th in the league with a 71.8 percent success rate.
Tuesday night, Florida went 0-for-3 on the power play and allowed Arizona to score two off its four chances.
Both special team units need to improve as the season goes along and Maurice is pretty confident they will.
“The concern,” he said, “is with the penalty kill because it is the special team I think is more impactful during a game. Our 5-on-5 game, and analytics will show, have been really good. We have introduced a whole new idea and whole bunch of new people.
”The true inflection point is Aaron Ekblad got hurt and both special team units have suffered. That’s just a fact. We have good players and we can adjust.”
— Sergei Bobrovsky will be back in net for the Panthers, but there will be a couple of small tweaks to the lineup.
Nick Cousins returns after being a healthy scratch the past few games with Maurice saying Colin White is day-to-day.
Matt Kiersted returns after being scratched Tuesday with Lucas Carlsson back out.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT SAN JOSE SHARKS
- When: Thursday, 10:30 p.m.
- Where: SAP Center, San Jose
- Streaming ONLY: ESPN+, Hulu
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-215); Puck line (-1.5, +105); Over/Under 6.5 (-115/-105)
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 19-13-1, 7 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
38 Rudolfs Balcers // 9 Sam Bennett // 13 Sam Reinhart
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 70 Patric Hornqvist
94 Ryan Lomberg // 12 Eric Staal // 21 Nick Cousins
42 Gus Forsling // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
3 Matt Kiersted // 18 Marc Staal
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Scratch: Lucas Carlsson
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles), Aaron Ekblad (LTIR-groin), Colin White (d2d)
PROJECTED SAN JOSE SHARKS LINEUP
28 Timo Meier // 48 Tomas Hertl // 10 Evgeny Svechnikov
83 Matthew Nieto // 39 Logan Couture // 94 Alexander Barabanov
13 Nick Bonino // 7 Nico Sturm // 11 Luke Kunin
23 Oskar Lindblom // 16 Steven Lorentz // 62 Kevin LeBanc
24 Jaycob Megna // 65 Erik Karlsson
44 Marc-Edouard Vlasic // 5 Matt Benning
38 Mario Ferraro // 51 Radim Simek
47 James Reimer
36 Kaapo Kahkonen