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Florida Panthers Dominate Red Wings, Roll into New York

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Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stops Detroit center Robby Fabbri during the third period of a 4-0 win on Saturday afternoon. Bobrovsky stopped all 43 shots in two shutouts in Detroit this season. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

The Florida Panthers showed precisely why they are bonafide Stanley Cup contenders on a nationally televised stage.

Against a young, spry Detroit Red Wings team that has launched itself into playoff contention, the Panthers dominated on all aspects of the ice, beating them 4-0 in a game broadcast on ABC.

The Panthers wore the Red Wings down with their physicality and capitalized on the Red Wings’ mistakes en route to four goals in the final 40.

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Sergei Bobrovsky finished the job with a 22-save shutout — his fourth this season and second in Detroit.

“It’s part of our game, it’s part of our DNA,” Evan Rodrigues said of the team’s physicality.

“We love playing in tight games. We don’t get frustrated when the puck is not going in. We stick to our game plan, and if the game is 0-0 going into the third, we’re perfectly fine with that.”

By the time the Panthers’ first power play of the night ended late in the first period, both teams had a combined 14 shots and a 30 hits.

Then things started to open up.

Brandon Montour got a very good scoring chance shortly after, getting stuffed by Alex Lyon near the goal line before hitting the inside of the crossbar with the rebound.

Montour got the last laugh on his former teammate 8:50 into the second, banking in an Alex Lyon rebound to put the Panthers ahead.

“Alex seems to make those tough, crazy saves,” Montour said. “He is always going to give it his best in net, and he made a couple of good ones there. We laughed about it, but it was nice that I could squeeze one there.”

Sam Reinhart scored his 42nd goal and his league-leading 24th power-play goal with 6:54 remaining in the second to give Florida a 2-0 lead.

Bobrovsky made his best save of the night to help the Panthers preserve that lead going into the third.

With future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane on the breakaway, Bobrovsky perfectly tracked his patented backhand-five hole move and shut it down with 3:47 to go in the second.

“His hands are so quick, and he made one hell of a move,” Bobrovsky said. “So I just put my pad on it, and I got lucky.”

Rodrigues capitalized on the momentum shift 4:39 into the third period, blasting a one-timer from Eetu Luostarinen past Lyon to end a 12-game goal drought and give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.

“You try not to get frustrated when it’s not going in for you,” Rodrigues said. “But on the same token, you want to be contributing and helping the team win, and it was nice to see it go in.”

After Carter Verhaeghe scored another power-play goal, spawned by a post-whistle scrum, it was the Panthers’ turn to go on the defensive after Ryan Lomberg was handed a double-minor after mixing it up with Robby Fabbri.

Florida’s penalty killers did not sit back in the final minutes, even though the game was one. 

They put their bodies on the line, blocked shots and did all they could to secure Bobrovsky’s shutout.

“We have a good structure, and the guys believe in the structure, and they execute that with their heart and their soul,” Bobrovsky said.

“That’s our backbone, and it doesn’t matter who is in the lineup; everybody works hard, and everybody puts everything on the table.”

With the win, the Panthers at least momentarily moved into first place in the NHL in both points (86) and points percentage (.705).

They will have a chance to defend that lead Monday when they visit the New York Rangers.

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ NEW YORK RANGERS

  • When: Monday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • Last Season: Rangers won 3-0
  • This Season (Panthers Lead 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 4 Rangers 3 (Dec. 29). At MSG: Monday; March 24 (ABC).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Rangers lead 60-33-8, 6 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at New Jersey Devils, 7

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