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Florida Panthers: Winning and Not Afraid to Put Up a Fight

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Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers have built a reputation for earning wins in the testiest of situations. Wednesday night, they mixed it up with the Arizona Coyotes. // Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

If nothing else happened last week, the Florida Panthers showed they have one another’s back.

At a moment’s notice, the Panthers will swarm if they feel you have wronged one of their teammates.

And once they get their shots in, they know how to reel things back in and play a winning style of hockey.

“It’s too bad you couldn’t be down on the bench to hear them because it’s intense and supportive,” coach Paul Maurice said after a testy Friday night in Pittsburgh. 

“It’s funny as hell.

“Wired, angry, it’s emotional, and I know that you got to be careful about letting your emotions get the better of you, but we would rather have a night of that than try to wind guys up to play hard in the sport of hockey.

“You don’t have to wind these guys up. They come wired to the game.”

That night in Pittsburgh showed the Panthers could win despite taking things a little too far at times.

Florida found itself on the penalty kill eight times against the Penguins after taking multiple shots on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang for a hit on Sasha Barkov along the boards and away from the play.

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Although Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said the Panthers overreacted — “I don’t know what everybody was upset about” — others took notice of how the Panthers have been flying around.

The Penguins game came two nights after the Panthers started their game Wednesday with a pair of fights to right a wrong they felt was committed the previous time they played Arizona.

Behind one of the best PK units in the league — and a masterful performance by Sergei Bobrovsky — Florida pulled out a 3-2 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Even after making 17 saves while shorthanded and eventually allowing a tying goal in the final seconds, Bobrovsky was not complaining.

After watching his teammates stand up for each other, the penaltykillers did the same for him, clearing the front of the net and giving him a clear view of those shots.

It certainly showed, with just six high-danger chances coming out of those eight penalty kills.

“It’s definitely fantastic to keep each other’s back and pull the rope in the same direction,” Bobrovsky said.

“It builds the strength connection, it builds the trust, and that is definitely big.”

The Panthers head into the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak.

At 31-14-4, they sit second in the Atlantic Division and have shown this could be another special year. 

They are playing with the same style and flavor which led them to the Stanley Cup Final last year.

“We’re winning in different ways,” Oliver Ekman-Larsson said after the Penguins win. 

“That’s the strength of our team.

”We let them get one in and we found a way to get out of this with two points and that says a lot about us as team and what kind of guys we have in this room. It’s something we build with us and we keep working on every day. We could’ve gotten an empty-netter to close the game out there and they came back and tied it.

“There is a lot of character in this room, and that’s how we won tonight.”

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ON DECK

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • 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
  • Season Series — At Florida: Feb. 6; March 7. At Philadelphia: March 24.  
  • Last season: Philadelphia won 2-1
  • All-time regular season series: Philadelphia leads 57-37-6, 7 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Feb. 8 vs. Washington, 7 p.m.

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