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Florida Panthers need Sam Bennett on the ice — not in the penalty box

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Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett throws down with Columbus defenseman Gavin Bayreuther at the end of the 2021 NHL season in Sunrise. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

Sam Bennett has been a steady postseason performer throughout his eight-year career — first with Calgary and last year with the Florida Panthers.

With 12 goals and 24 points over 35 games in five different playoff appearances, Bennett’s physical style of play appears made for the NHL’s biggest stage.

“In playoff hockey, it’s more physical, it’s more emotional, and every play means a little bit more,” Bennett said. “When I play a little bit on the edge, that’s when I play my best hockey.”

The Panthers got to see Bennett’s style of play against the Lightning last season to the tune of five points in five games — including a goal — during their six-game series loss.

While Bennett has frustrated many of his opponents, there is one caveat to his style of his play: He needs to try and stay on the ice.

Taking too many penalties, or even being suspended, is not going to help the Panthers.

He knows this.

With the Washington Capitals and Tom Wilson up next, the officials will be keeping a close eye on things.

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