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On Way Home, Florida Panthers Run Out of Gas in Carolina



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An official breaks up a tussle between Andrei Svechnikov and Matthew Tkachuk during the first period of Carolina’s eventual 4-0 win over the Panthers on Thursday night in Raleigh. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice warned that March was going to be a brutal month for his team.

For the most part, the Panthers have thrived during this stretch.

It looked like burning the candle at both ends caught up to the Panthers on Thursday night.

Florida came out hot but looked flatfooted for much of a 4-0 loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh, the Panthers shut out for the second time by a Carolina goalie within a span of a month.

“They were a little quicker, they were on pucks a bit more than us,” Sam Reinhart said. “We learn from it, and we move on.’’

The Panthers, playing a meaty schedule filled with playoff teams and those on the cusp, are now 5-2-0 this month.

Florida has won eight of 10, and 18 of 22.

Two of those four losses have come to the Hurricanes; the other two to Philadelphia. Florida has scored a grand total of two goals in those four losses.

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Every team in the NHL would take that sort of record.

Maurice did not like his team’s second period as the Panthers fell behind 3-0 midway through the second period for the second consecutive game.

Florida rallied to beat the Central-leading Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

There would be no rally Thursday as the Panthers mustered just 21 shots against Frederik Andersen.

“We didn’t move the puck very well in the second period,” Maurice said. “I liked our first an awful lot. We’re down 1-0, but I wasn’t worried about it. We got behind the play a little bit and the second period got away from us. … We allowed ourselves to get hung up.”

There was not much of a positive spin put on Thursday’s game aside from Florida’s start, and its play when killing penalties.

The Panthers gave up three goals 5-on-5 — which is usually their strong suit — with Carolina’s fifth-ranked power play going 0-for-5.

Carolina got its fourth with 4:18 remaining on an empty-net goal.

“You go 18-3 and there are all these expectations to where you need to win every game and, if you don’t, there’s something wrong,’’ Maurice said. “They had a good second, got ahead of us and that was it. We just didn’t have a lot. We didn’t move the puck particularly well, it was hard to generate. Didn’t like the game. They won it, move on.’’

The Panthers were quick, as usual, to get out of Raleigh and its cramped visitors’ quarters.

Florida is back home Saturday to face Anthony Duclair and Tampa Bay before having a four days off between games.

The Panthers beat the Lightning 9-2 the last time out, so this one should be fun.

“That’s going to be a great game in front of our home fans,” Kevin Stenlund said. “We’re always excited about that.’’



  • When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • Streaming ONLY: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM 2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Season Series (Panthers Lead 2-0) — At Tampa Bay: Panthers 3, Lightning 2 (Dec. 27)Panthers 9, Lightning 2 (Feb. 17). At Florida: Saturday.
  • Last season: Even 2-2
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 77-50-19, 10 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday vs. Nashville, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

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