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Florida Panthers Pregame: Power play humming along at record-breaking pace



Florida Panthers forward Anthony Duclair celebrates a power play goal FLA Live Arena last month. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

After hitting a major blip in December, the Florida Panthers power play is now humming along at a record-breaking rate.

On Monday, they scored two power play goals for the fourth game in a row, breaking a franchise record in the process.

During that four-game stretch, Florida’s power play was 8-20, ranking second in the NHL at a 40 percent clip.

Those numbers are a major improvement from their output in December, when they were tied for 29th in the league in power play percentage, scoring on only 12.5 percent of their man-advantage opportunities.

Florida was missing both Sasha Barkov and Anthony Duclair for an extended period of time during that span.

When the two of them returned to full health following the NHL’s extended holiday break, Florida’s power play shot up to 28.4 percent — the second-best in the NHL — during that span.

“We’re building chemistry as a unit where we communicate and we have set plays we talk about before the game,” Duclair said.

“We put it to work, we practice it during practice time. I think when you have so many high-skill guys on a unit like that, it’s pretty easy to play with them.”

In this recent stretch, both power play units have been in on the success as well.

While Barkov and Duclair have combined for five power play goals in the last four games, the second unit has done some damage as well.

Although they do not get as much time to operate, they accounted for three of Florida’s eight power play goals since Feb. 26.

“I’ve really enjoyed the second unit, if you can even call them that, I think they have been excellent,” Brunette said.

“I think it took them a while to get going, but it’s hard to find your cadence when you only get 20-30 seconds and I didn’t really like it all year until the last little while they were starting to mix and they got a little bit more of an identity and they’re starting to read off of each other.”

Mason Marchment was recently added to that second unit in February and he flourished in his role, adding two power play points.

He plays both a pivot role as a puck mover and a net-front role, using his 6-5 frame to box out defenders, screen goalies, and pick up rebounds.

He has been a huge part of Florida’s success overall as well since returning from a lengthy lower-body injury in December, putting up 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 21 games.

“He had a tough injury at the start of the year, but he is obviously a talented kid,” Brandon Montour said.

“He’s a big boy and he’s having a heck of a year, so to see him on that unit, getting some reps and some time, it’s good to see. He’s putting the puck in the back of the net, so we need to keep doing that.”



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