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Florida Panthers Ready for ‘Tkachuk Bowl’ Battle with Senators



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Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky watches as a brawl breaks out in the third period with official Garrett Rank kicking out all nine skaters (Ottawa had a power play) on the ice. Florida won the game 5-0. // Screen cap courtesy Bally Sports Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE — In the previous episode of the ‘Tkachuk Bowl,’ the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators got into a brawl in the third period, which became memorable not for the punches thrown but for the lead referee.

When Brady Tkachuk — the captain of the Senators and younger brother of one Matthew — skated into Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky with 7:22 remaining, it set off a melee that put referee Garrett Rank in a mood.

The third period was filled with penalties.

Rank was done with the shenanigans.

He kicked all skaters off the ice — and out of the game.

“Every player on the ice has 10-minute misconducts, among other penalties,” Rank said.

The Panthers pulled out a 5-0 victory in Ottawa, but it was Rank who won over the internet.

Tonight, the Tkachuk Brothers square off in Sunrise again.

The rest of the Panthers and Senators will be there as well.

At least when it comes to the Panthers, memories of that game are not fuzzy.

“We don’t forget in here,” Matthew Tkachuk said after practice on Monday. “That was a very intense game, and I am sure the boys will be fired up and ready to go.”

As for the brawl?

“I never saw anything like that,’’ Ryan Lomberg said. “I think the ref just wanted to get out of there, did not want to decipher all of the penalties, the minors and majors and stuff. It was funny. A couple of the guys on the ice didn’t do much and got tossed.

“We apologized to Kevin Stenlund because we cost him the Lady Byng for getting dragged into the mud with me and Jonah Gadjovich. Hey, it comes with the territory.”

Said Brandon Montour: “We obviously protect each other and if anything happens, we have 20 guys ready to do something. They want to play that way? We’re going to protect ourselves, but we are going to play the whole 60 in trying to get the win.”

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Tuesday night will be a rarity for the Panthers as they play a team that is not trying to fight their way into the playoffs.

That is not to say the Senators have given up on their season. 

Far from it.

Despite coming to South Florida 16 points out of a playoff spot, the Senators seem to be rejuvenated playing under interim coach Jacques Martin — Florida’s former coach and/or general manager from 2004-09.

From FHN: Brady, Matthew Tkachuk Star in Hyundai Ad

Ottawa comes into the game 6-3-1 in its past 10 games and is coming off a 4-2 win in Tampa on Monday.

The Senators play hard, although success has yet to follow this team the way some predicted before the start of the season.

Since the two last met, D.J. Smith was fired and replaced by Martin — the winningest coach in franchise history but let go in 2004, leading him to be hired by Mike Keenan and the Panthers.

Before joining the Sens, Martin had been living at his home in Fort Lauderdale and scouting games from the press box at Amerant Bank Arena. 


Brady and Matthew Tkachuk share a laugh on the bench in Sunrise during the 2023 NHL All-Star Game. Matthew won MVP of the event. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

“They are a fast team, and, for a young team, they finish all of their checks,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “It is a good team. I don’t know why they are in the situation they are in, I don’t watch them enough. But in pre-scout, you watch them and see the speed and skill, they play hard on the backend. …

“They are more dangerous now because they don’t have the same risk profile other teams have. Nothing is going to cost them their season. They carry a different weight into games and they have a great intensity. They are like Buffalo; they have a high skill level and if they are on and making plays, you see Buffalo put up 7 on Los Angeles.”

The physical play between the Panthers and Senators is not new although it certainly has ramped up since Matthew Tkachuk was traded to Florida.

And Keith Tkachuk may have a little to do with it.

After Florida lost its fourth straight game, 5-2 in Ottawa on March 27, he went on a Toronto morning show and tore into the Panthers, saying Florida was “a soft team, and they are getting everything they deserve right now.”

Matthew may have banned Dad from doing any more radio shows, but the Panthers eventually responded to the rip job by winning their next six games.

Sure, Alex Lyon had a say in it as well.

When it comes to the Senators, their willingness to mix it up early and often has not hurt, either.

In that previous meeting in Ottawa, 13 players were ejected from the game with 167 penalty minutes.

The first ejection was to Zach MacEwen, who went after Florida’s Tkachuk.

There were also 12 game misconducts, an unsportsmanlike (on Florida’s Tkachuk), three roughing penalties, and (only) two for fighting.

“The official score sheet is going to look like a CVS receipt,” Florida color analyst Randy Moller quipped.

Florida and Ottawa may be the rivalry the NHL did not know it needed.

“I hear people calling this game the ‘Tkachuk Bowl,’ and I think that is a big part of this game,’’ Lomberg said. “This one means a little bit more to one of our leaders, which means more to us. On the other side, it means more to one of their leaders. Every game is important, but we’re more into it because of the Tkachuks. We all embrace this. We take pride in our teammates and the things that they care about. Everyone has their eyes on this one.’’

Of course, the Tkachuk Brothers are under strict orders not to go after one another.

They have stuck to that.

The two go after everyone else instead.

“It is always fun playing Brady,’’ Matthew said. “I like it better when he comes down here to play. There will be a lot of family as always, just great for them to watch. It will be nice to catch up with everyone.”



  • When: Tuesday, 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
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season (Panthers Lead 1-0) — At Ottawa: Panthers 5, Senators 0 (Nov.27); April 4. At Florida: Tuesday; April 9
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Ottawa leads 57-45-5, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Carolina, 7 p.m.


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