SUNRISE — By any measure, this past week was a success for the Florida Panthers.
While the Panthers opened their season with three key players on the injured list, all three are on the mend and closing in on a return.
On Thursday, center Sam Bennett practiced with the Panthers for the first time since he got hurt during a preseason game in Orlando.
Although he did not skate on Sunday morning — coach Paul Maurice said that was by design — Bennett could make his return tonight in Boston.
Although Bennett was not on the ice Sunday, Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour were.
Florida’s two star defensemen are both working their way back from offseason shoulder surgery and could be back in the lineup in the coming weeks.
See? Good week for the Panthers.
But what else went down in Pantherland?
— The Panthers are back in Boston and at the Gahden for the first time since they completed the big upset of the Bruins in Game 7.
Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe both say they are looking forward to the reaction although the Bruins aren’t playing around this season. They are off to a 7-0-1 start.
— The Panthers may have gotten a lucky bounce on Nick Cousins’ game-winning goal against the Kraken, but they earned it.
— With so many new faces on the blueline, the Panthers have been able to keep the same six guys on the ice through the first seven games.
— Sam Reinhart has gotten off to a slow start in each of his first two years with the Panthers — but that is not the case in this one. Reinhart’s five-game goal streak (which ended Saturday) is third-longest in franchise history.
— Rookie Mackie Samoskevich was called up on Tuesday when it became apparent Sasha Barkov would miss the game against San Jose due to illness.
The Panthers woke Samoskevich up with the big news — and told him to get to the Rochester airport, stat.
— Florida’s special teams have not been the team’s strong suit this season.
— Anthony Stolarz looked sharp in his first start with the Panthers on Tuesday night. How long will he have to wait for his next one?
Duclair, who was honored during the first period on Tuesday, made a lot of connections in our community which continue on.
— The Blue Jackets are said to be willing to make a deal for a defenseman — including two with ties to the Panthers and South Florida.
— Plenty of new video on the FHN YouTube Channel including Tkachuk, Verhaeghe and Maurice talking about shipping back to Boston.
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PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS @ BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Boston Garden
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM; 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
- Last Season — Regular Season: Tied 2-2; Playoffs: Florida won 4-3 (first-round)
- This season: @Boston Monday, April 6; @Florida Nov. 22, March 26
- All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 60-37-7, 6 ties
- All-time Postseason Series: Florida leads 2-0 (1996, 2023)
- Up Next for the Panthers: @Detroit; Thursday, 7 p.m.