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Florida Panthers PK Problems Flare Up (Again) in Loss to Canucks

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Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky hits the ice after colliding with teammate Steven Lorentz allowing Andrei Kuzmenko’s shot go in and helping the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 win on Saturday in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE — Problems with the penalty kill continue to plague the Florida Panthers and cost them again on Saturday night in a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

Florida found itself in a two-goal hole in the third period, thanks in due part to a couple of rough showings on the penalty kill.

Vancouver put up 10 shots and scored on its first two power play opportunities to grab hold of the game.

The Panthers are now 15-for-23 (65.2 percent) on the penalty kill this season, which stands as the fourth-worst in the NHL.

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“On both of those kills, we touched the puck six times and that will kill you if you can’t clear the puck,” coach Paul Maurice said. “We have to be able to get it down there and win those battles.”

With the Panthers unable to break into those passing lanes and clear things, the Canucks hounded them on the power play with an efficient cycle game.

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On both of their power play goals, Vancouver was able to pass it around an exhausted Florida penalty kill unit and get the shot it needed.

Quinn Hughes got the first 11:09 into the first period, firing off a shot from the point when the cycle gave the lane he needed.

Carson Soucy then walked into the slot around tired Panthers defenders and beat Sergei Bobrovsky high-blocker side with 9:19 to go in the second period to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.

Both goals were scored with less than 30 seconds remaining in the man advantage.

Soucy got his first-ever power play goal with just two seconds remaining in the advantage.

“I think we need to get a little bit more in-rhythm,” said Sam Reinhart, who pulled the Panthers into a tie with a pair of third-period goals.

“They did a solid job of keeping tired guys out there. They really control the puck well and a lot of their offense comes late. They did a good job of controlling it and waiting for the opening.

“I think bringing the intensity early, maybe getting a bit more in-rhythm and getting some fresh guys out there might help a little bit for us.”

By the time the Panthers were able to mount a comeback effort — powered by Reinhart — it turned out to be too late.

Even after Reinhart tied it at 3, the Canucks came back the way they had for the majority of the game and regained the lead a minute later.

“Their first two periods were really solid. I think they were heavier in the battle,” Reinhart said.

“It wasn’t that we weren’t moving, I thought we were moving our feet. In the battles, they were just winning the vast majority of them.

“Early in the season, we’ve been able to kind of flip a switch in games, so I like that again tonight, but we have to do it earlier and be more urgent in the battles.”

PANTHERS ON DECK

SAN JOSE SHARKS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Tuesday, 7:45 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932; NHL App
  • Last season: Florida won 2-0
  • This season: Tuesday @ Florida; @ San Jose, Nov. 14
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 21-13-1, 7 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Seattle, 6 p.m.

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