SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers were back home in the friendly confines of FLA Live Arena on Thursday night yet failed to get much going in a lackluster 5-2 preseason loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Panthers, who played a lot of regulars against a Carolina squad which will mostly be in the AHL next month, fall to 1-2-0 with a return trip to Raleigh upcoming this weekend.
Carolina scored the first three goals of the game in the first 22:32 and Florida never recovered.
Stefan Noesen kicked off the scoring 12:15 into the game, picking up a rebound from a Ryan Dzingel shot and putting it past Bobrovsky to take the early lead.
Derek Stepan extended their lead with a shorthanded breakaway 10 seconds into a Panthers power play just over three minutes later.
The Hurricanes jumped out to a 3-0 lead 3:32 into the second period with a Justin Robidas wrist shot.
Sam Bennett scored Florida’s first goal a minute later but the Hurricanes quickly returned the favor with another power play goal.
Carolina got goals from Vasilly Ponomarev and Jack Drury to take a four-goal lead before Brandon Montour scored on a nice backhand move after slicing through the Hurricanes’ defense with 9:33 to go.
Here are my takeaways from Thursday night’s game:
- Sergei Bobrovsky struggled to stop second-chance opportunities. He gave up three goals off of rebounds and finished the game with 23 saves on 28 shots (.821). He stayed in for the entire game after only playing just a half in his first preseason start.
- Brandon Montour played well in the power play quarterback slot. The top unit had a lot of chances and the puck movement was smooth. That top unit had a flurry of scoring chances but went 0-5 on the day.
- Sam Reinhart was out with a nagging injury that is said to be minor per head coach Paul Maurice.
- Patric Hornqvist has also been held out with a nagging injury for precautionary reasons but both are apparently in no danger of missing regular season games.
- Matt Kiersted was very active in the offensive zone. He took two shots and set up Max Gildon for a one-timer with a smooth point-to-point pass after pinching into the offensive zone and making a move on a defender. He looks a lot more confident out there.
- Florida’s overall special teams play was not up to snuff. Although generating chances, its power play went 0-5 and gave up a shorthanded goal while the penalty kill went 2-4.
FLORIDA PANTHERS PRESEASON
Saturday: Florida Panthers (1-2) at Carolina Hurricanes (2-0)
When: 1 p.m.
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh