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Florida Panthers power play outage a concern



Florida power play panthers
Sasha Barkov and Aaron Ekblad celebrate a power play goal earlier this season although the Florida Panthers have struggled to score with the man advantage lately. // Roger Lee Photography (561) 866-2000

Andrew Brunette said Thursday night that he has been concerned with the Florida Panthers power play throughout the season.

So, the team struggling while with the man advantage this week is nothing really all that new.

While the Panthers came into Thursday tied for 10th in the NHL in power play proficiency, they have not looked all that great this season.

Take away the three power play goals in the first period last Saturday against Carolina and the Panthers’ power play would be closer to the bottom third of the league than the top.

And, to be honest, the power play didn’t look all that good against the Hurricanes when it came to getting the puck into the zone.

The rare times Florida did get it into the zone, it scored.

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While Florida’s power play didn’t look very pretty that night, the results were gorgeous.

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In the first three games of this four-game road trip, the Panthers are 0-for-8 on the power play including going scoreless on four chances Thursday night.

One goal may have — and probably would have — been the difference in leaving Pittsburgh with a win and the way they did.

Florida’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Penguins gives it the first three-game losing streak since late last season.

“I think I have had concerns all year with it,” said Brunette, who coaches the power play. “It just seems to be a little out of sync or it’s not quite as smooth. We’re trying to work through some of the familiarities and the different units, but it has been a little stagnant.”

Brunette mentioned that he liked Florida’s first kick at the power play in the first period on Thursday — and for good reason.

The Panthers were aggressive with their puck movement and had three prime scoring chances.

“It could be better, for sure,” he said.

With all of the firepower the Panthers are throwing at their power play, one would think they would be near the top of the league.

And, they may get there soon enough.

The Panthers are obviously going through some growing pains after Keith Yandle ran things from the point for the past couple of years.

Now, Aaron Ekblad has been getting a chance at that although Brunette has been mixing and matching.

Florida has shown different looks up top and have intertwined both Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart as the season has rolled on.

Patric Hornqvist, who started the season on the second power play unit, has been back down low on the top group since the opening week of the season.

On that first power play chance Thursday, Hornqvist his the cage and had two really good looks at scoring.

A goal there would have given the Panthers a 1-0 lead — and who knows where the game may have gone from there.



  • WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.
  • WHERE: Amalie Arena, Tampa
  • TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
  • RADIO: WKIS 99.9-2 FM
  • Last season: Florida won 5-3-0
  • This season: Florida 4, @Lightning 1; Oct. 19 

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