SUNRISE — After dismantling a Tampa Bay team missing its All-World goalie and the Montreal AHL team from Laval, the Florida Panthers had themselves a bonafide challenge Tuesday night in the Calgary Flames.
The score may not have been as decisive Tuesday as other wins but Florida can take a lot of pride in the way it took care of the Flames.
Down a goal in the first period, the Panthers flipped their switch a lot earlier than usual and skated to an impressive 6-2 win over a good Calgary team at FLA Live Arena.
The Panthers now hit the road after winning their previous four home games by a combined 24-10 against the Rangers, Lightning, Canadiens and Flames.
Not bad at all.
The Panthers played without the suspended Sam Bennett as well as Sam Reinhart and Mason Marchment who went on the Covid list earlier this week.
Although Bennett did not get his reunion game against his former Calgary teammates, Ryan Lomberg did — and did not squander the opportunity.
Lomberg, who got his first one-way contract from the Panthers in 2020, gave Florida a 4-2 lead on a nice snipe late in the second period. That capped off what was a solid 20 minutes for Florida — even if Lomberg’s goal was all it put on the board.
Florida did take the first lead Tuesday, Patric Hornqvist getting some help from the stick of Calgary defenseman Christopher Tanev down low on a power play chance at 5:58.
Calgary bounced right back, scoring a pair of goals within a three minute span to grab a 2-1 lead at the midway mark of the first.
Instead of waiting until the third period, Florida got itself right back in the ballgame right then and there.
At 13:01 of the first, Anthony Duclair got a piece of a Gus Forsling shot to tie the score.
With 1:09 left before intermission, Joe Thornton worked his way in front of the net onf the Panthers’ second power play chance of the night and got a chunk of Brandon Montour’s shot.
The Panthers controlled the pace of play for much of the second and really put the heat on Jacob Markstrom in the final minutes of the period.
Anton Lundell came close to making it 4-2 but his shot hit the a post; moments later, Lomberg drove in and found a sliver a space and put the puck there.
The Panthers got some needed breathing room at 5:47 of the third as Hornqvist got his second of the night — and he needed no one’s help on this one.
Hornqvist snapped off a shot from the right circle that zipped past Markstrom on Florida’s 40th shot of the night.
Lucas Carlsson gave the Panthers even more room with a goal he’s likely not going to forget as he fired off a shot as he lost his footing from from the left circle that made it 6-2 with 6:56 remaining.
Sergei Bobrovsky, it should be noted, was terrific Tuesday is stopping 47 shots.
— Before the game, the Panthers announced that assistant coach Derek MacKenzie joined Covid protocol, joining fellow assistant Tuomo Ruutu.
Goalie coach Robb Tallas, who usually works from the press level, joined Andrew Brunette and Ulf Samuelsson on the bench Sunday.
GR’s THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Patric Hornqvist, Florida
2. Brandon Montour, Florida
3. Ryan Lomberg, Florida