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Florida Panthers Star Sam Reinhart is Ready for Playoffs



Sam Reinhart Florida Panthers Tampa Bay Lightning
Coming off of a 57-goal campaign, Sam Reinhart is ready for his third playoff run with the Florida Panthers. // Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

FORT LAUDERDALE — Riding a 57-goal season into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Florida Panthers star Sam Reinhart is feeling as confident as ever.

And not just because he scored a bunch of goals this season.

“I think the confidence from our team and our group and the way we are trying to play,” Reinhart said.

“When we’re supporting the puck and we’re on it, that’s where our success comes. So I think that confidence and operability in our system, that’s the style of play you want to play at this time.”

Reinhart has embodied that style of play all year.

His 57 goals, second to only Auston Matthews, and his league-leading 27 power play goals showcase his offensive ability but he was just as lethal in the defensive zone.

He and Sasha Barkov have been arguably the best duo of forwards in the defensive zone both on the penalty kill and 5-on-5 and his five shorthanded  goals show that he is more than capable of turning that defense into offense.

“It’s just such an elite class,” coach Paul Maurice said. “And there are just a few people whose names score 50 that you don’t know. You’ve just heard of them because they’re the superstars.

”But, you know, five of those are shorthanded goals, right? And that tells you that he’s playing both sides of the puck. Some guys scored 50 who couldn’t even find their own end. Sam is a battler, a team-first player, and we are just so fortunate to have him.”

Reinhart has always been a cerebral player, even dating back to his days with the Buffalo Sabres.

Throughout his seven years there, he showed flashes of what makes him such a good fit in the Panthers’ system today.

He was hard on the forecheck, he created offense for himself and his teammates and he was defensively capable both as a center and a winger.

But he did not know what playoff style of hockey was like until his eighth year in the league after the Sabres, who are still suffering from the longest playoff drought in sports, dealt him to the Panthers and he has shown signs of improvement ever since.

“I think as you go through it more and more, you get more comfortable,” Reinhart said.

“Certainly, there’s a lot to learn from experience, like last year, both on the winning side and losing side of it, to try and learn form that. It adds a sense of comfort knowing that you’ve been here before and knowing that the group has been in this position.”

  • When: Sunday, 12:30 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • Local TV/National TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN/ESPN+
  • Radio: 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
  • First Round Schedule — Game 1: Sunday at Florida, 12:30 p.m. (BSF, ESPN); Game 2: Tuesday at Florida, 7:30 (BSF, ESPN2); Game 3: Thursday at Tampa Bay, 7 (BSF, TBS); Game 4:Saturday Ap. 27 at Tampa Bay, 5 (BSF, TBS, TruTV); Game 5*:Monday Ap. 29 at Florida, TBA (BSF, TBA); Game 6*: Wednesday May 1 at Tampa Bay, TBA (BSF, TBA); Game 7*:Saturday May 4 at Florida, TBA (BSF, TBA). (*) — If necessary
  • 2023-24 Regular Season Series (Panthers Won 2-1) — At Tampa Bay: Panthers 3, Lightning 2 (Dec. 27)Panthers 9, Lightning 2 (Feb. 17). At Florida: Lightning 5, Panthers 3 (March 16).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 77-51-19, 10 ties
  • All-Time Postgame Series: Lightning Leads 2-0 (2021 first-round, 2022 ECS)

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