CORAL SPRINGS — Anthony Duclair found himself watching the Florida Panthers Game 6 win against the Capitals after being scratched from the lineup.
He appears to be back in — and with his old linemates.
The Panthers reunited the ‘9-1-1’ line in practice on Tuesday, Duclair on the right side of center Sam Bennett and Jonathan Huberdeau.
It is a trio which has found plenty of success over the past two seasons and the Panthers hope to find that again.
“If he skates like he did today, yeah, I am confident,” coach Andrew Brunette said. “I think he is ready to go. So, yeah, I am confident in him.’’
Duclair started the postseason on Florida’s top line with Sasha Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe, but as the Washington series rolled on, he found himself sliding throughout the lineup and watching his minutes slip.
By the time he was scratched, he had one shot on goal and two assists.
Bennett, for one, is excited to be starting off with Duclair back on his line.
“I love playing with those guys,” Bennett said. “When we are all going and making plays, that’s when we play our best. I am excited to start the series with them.”
Florida had a familiar look in practice Tuesday with Barkov centering Verhaeghe and Claude Giroux; Noel Acciari is filling in for the injured Mason Marchment on the third line with Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart.
The fourth line is Eetu Luostarinen centering Ryan Lomberg and Patric Hornqvist.
Maxim Mamin appears to be the odd forward out.
Aside from Marchment, Florida had full participation at Monday’s practice.
“I think it was a good little recharge for a couple of days,” Brunette said. “We’re ready to get it going here.”
DOUBLE-DIP OK WITH BRUNETTE
The Panthers and Lightning will be the only teams left who have to play on back-to-back days when they go Sunday afternoon and Monday night in Tampa.
“You have to play the games ahead of you and that’s how it is,” Brunette said. “You have to figure out a way to play a better afternoon game than we did the last one (Game 3 loss) and go from there.”
Brunette has been through this before.
As a player in 2003, his Minnesota Wild beat the Canucks in Game 6 at home then flew to Vancouver for Game 7 the following night.
Minnesota won both games — with Brunette scoring twice in that Game 6.
In the ensuing Western Conference finals, Minnesota and Colorado played Games 6 and 7 on back-to-back days — and Brunette had the biggest goal of his career, scoring in overtime to send the Wild to the Stanley Cup Final.
— The Lightning has pretty much ruled Brayden Point out for Game 1 with coach jon Cooper saying he should be day-to-day after that.
“He drives a lot of their play,” Brunette said. “He is so dynamic up the middle of the ice with speed. He is dangerous in all situations and is such a competitive kid. They are a really deep team and a really good team. We’re preparing as if he plays and if he doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter because they are such a deep team and have a lot of players to come in.”
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
PANTHERS V. LIGHTNING
- Game 1: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: TNT
- Radio: WQAM 560 (Miami/Fort Lauderdale); WMEN 640 (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3 (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- Full schedule — Game 1: Tampa Bay at Florida (TNT), 7; Game 2: Tampa Bay at Florida, Thursday, 7 (TNT); Game 3: Florida at Tampa Bay, Sunday, 1:30 (TNT); Game 4: Florida at Tampa Bay, Monday, 7 (TNT); Game 5*: Tampa Bay at Florida, Wednesday, May 25 (Time, TV TBA); Game 6*: Florida at Tampa Bay Lightning, Friday, May 27 (Time, TV TBA); Game 7*: Tampa Bay at Florida, Sunday, May 29 (Time, TV TBA). (*) — If necessary.
PANTHERS V. LIGHTNING
- Regular season series — Tied 2-2: Florida 4, @Lightning 1 (Oct. 19); @Lightning 3, Florida 2 OT (Nov. 13); @Florida 9, Lightning 3 (Dec 30); Tampa Bay 8, @Florida 4 (April 24).
- All-time regular season series: Panthers lead 73-49-18, 10 ties
- Playoff history: Second meeting; Tampa Bay d. Florida 4-2 in R1, 2021
- Round 1 — Florida d. Washington 4-2 — Game 1: Washington 4, @Florida 2; Game 2: @Florida 5, Washington 1; Game 3: @Washington 6, Florida 1; Game 4: Florida 3, @Washington 2 (OT); Game 5: @Florida 5, Washington 3; Game 6: Florida 4, Washington 3 (OT).
- Round 1 — Tampa Bay d. Toronto 4-3