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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Florida Panthers Sour After Game 3 Loss. Today’s A New Day



Florida panthers
Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice meets with the media on the team’s workout day Monday in Fort Lauderdale. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice said after Sunday’s overtime loss to the New York Rangers that he wanted his team to chew on the bad taste for a little bit.

There was plenty to feel good about, sure, but the reality is, his team lost an important playoff game — one it should have won.

Florida dominated big parts of that game, yet not only could not put the Rangers away, but only had the lead once at 1-0 off a power-play goal from Sam Reinhart 2:50 in.

“Why would we flush that one?” Maurice said on Monday. “We put up 108 [shot attempts], gave up [43].

“Where can we get better? Where can we turn that into a win? We came to the rink today determined to find answers.’’

The Panthers did not practice Monday but did hold plenty of meetings and went through their off-ice workouts.

The mood did not seem somber nor overly excited.

The Panthers appear to be handling this 2-1 defict in the best-of-7 series quite professionally.

“It’s the playoffs and there are going to be big swings from one game, one goal,’’ Sam Bennett said. “That is what the playoffs are like. You have to control your emotions, work on the parts of the game you need to work on. We went over it. Take the good stuff — we did a lot of good things last night.’’

As for the bad taste thing?

“I think you sit on it a little bit,’’ Bennett said. “Obviously it stung. But, you wake up today, it’s a new day. Another opportunity tomorrow and that’s really the only way you can go about it. I think we did a good job, everyone’s in good spirits today. That’s where our focus is.’’

Florida did have a couple of breakdowns on Sunday night, the biggest coming on the overtime winner when Evan Rodrigues won the faceoff in the defensive zone but the Rangers got to it; Alex Wennberg found his way to the net uncontested and knocked in the point shot from Ryan Lindgren to win it.

Maurice said that play was watched once in the team meeting.

It was an unfortunate and uncharactaristic defensive breakdown by the Panthers.

It just happened to be in overtime of a playoff game.

Again, a playoff game the Panthers should have won.

“We dealt with it,’’ Maurice said. “I’m not serving anyone up on that.’’

The Panthers also cannot afford a loss tonight and go back to New York down 3-1 and face elimination Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

New York came out flying in Game 2 down 1-0 at home on Friday night, and, one could expect to see a similar push from the Panthers tonight.

“It’s a big game,’’ Bennett said. “It’s crucial. We know how big this game is. We’re going to be prepared for it. But in the playoffs, every game is a must-win game. We’re going to treat it like we have all the other games. But it is a big one for us.’’

Maurice said before the playoffs started that the easiest job a coach had in the postseason is getting his team ready to play.

At this time of year, honestly, there is not much left to say.

“I got it all done today,’’ Maurice said. “As long as they know how you feel, they know how you’re walking in the room tomorrow. Words won’t be important; it will be emotion and mood. There is nobody in there not fired up and ready to go.”

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

Rangers Lead Best-of-7 Series 2-1
  • When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • National TV: ESPN
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; 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
  • Series Schedule — Game 1: Florida 3, @New York 0; Game 2: @New York 2, Florida 1 OT; Game 3: New York at Florida, Sunday; Game 4: New York at Florida, Tuesday 8 (ESPN): Game 5: Florida at New York, Thursday 8 (ESPN); Game 6*: New York at Florida, Saturday June 1, 8 (ABC); Game 7*: Florida at New York, Monday June 3, 8 (ESPN). (*) — If Necessary.
  • How They Got Here: Florida d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2; Rangers d. Washington 4-0, Carolina 4-2.
  • Last Season vs. Rangers — Regular Season: Rangers won 3-0
  • This Season (Panthers Won 2-1) — At Florida: Panthers 4 Rangers 3 (Dec. 29). At MSG: Panthers 4, Rangers 2 (March 4); Rangers 4, Panthers 3 OT (March 23).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Rangers lead 61-34-8, 6 ties
  • Postseason History: Rangers Lead 1-0 (1997 1st)

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