The Florida Panthers want to see their power play keep building on its momentum heading into Game 2 of the season against the Winnipeg Jets.
While they did not score in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild — going 0-for-3 on the night — they moved the puck well and got a lot of shots toward the net.
“I liked our game. The result is always the most important thing — we didn’t win a hockey game — but I’m not disappointed,” coach Paul Maurice said after the game.
“I thought our power play got some looks.”
Florida’s power play had a couple of new additions during the offseason who seemed to gel in smoothly with the usual core.
Evan Rodrigues has taken on a bumper role, helping distribute the puck and showcasing his quick wrist shot release when necessary.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is manning the quarterback role with Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour both out of the lineup with injuries.
He is unique in that he is a good passer but his main role is getting pucks to the net, and he did that well on Thursday.
Ekman-Larsson took four shots on goal with a few others deflected by Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Reinhart in front of the net.
As a unit, Florida’s power play took seven shots, all of which were saved by Filip Gustavsson.
All told, Ekman-Larsson played nearly 27 minutes in his Panthers debut — and his first NHL regular season game since sustaining a broken ankle in February.
“His last game was in February, so it’s been a while for him,” coach Paul Maurice said.
“He is an offensive guy, and when you don’t score, he is going to want to get more of those pucks through. But his game was good. His 5-on-5, the plays he broke up with his stick, we were real happy with his performance.”
Maurice will be returning to Winnipeg for the second time since resigning as head coach of the Jets in December 2022.
He will be looking for his first win against his former team, going 0-2 against them last season.
The Panthers dropped his return to Winnipeg 5-2 on Dec. 6, 2022.
– The Panthers will be rolling with the same lineup they finished Thursday night’s game with, including Mackie Samoskevich moving up to line 2 with Eetu Luostarinen and Matthew Tkachuk.
– Today’s starting goalies are Sergei Bobrovsky and Connor Hellebuyck.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT WINNIPEG JETS
- When: Saturday, 4 p.m.
- Where: Canada Life Center, Winnipeg
- TV: 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
- DraftKings odds — Jets Favored: Money Line (-120); Puck line (-1.5, +190); Over/Under 6.5 (-120/+100)
- This season: Florida @ Winnipeg, Saturday; Winnipeg @ Florida, Nov. 24
- Last season: Winnipeg won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets lead 52-31-8, 5 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Monday at New Jersey Devils, 7 (BSF, 560-AM)
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 17 Evan Rodrigues
25 Mackie Samoskevich // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
21 Nick Cousins // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
94 Ryan Lomberg //82 Kevin Stenlund // 18 Steven Lorentz
42 Gus Forsling // 91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson
77 Niko Mikkola // 7 Dmitry Kulikov
28 Josh Mahura // 26 Uvis Balinskis
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
41 Anthony Stolarz
Injured: Aaron Ekblad (LTIR-shoulder); Brandon Montour (IR-shoulder); Sam Bennett (LBI)
Scratched: Justin Sourdif, Mike Reilly
PROJECTED WINNIPEG JETS LINEUP
81 Kyle Connor // 55 Mark Scheifele // 13 Gabriel Vilardi
62 Nino Niederreiter // 91 Cole Perfetti // 27 Nikolaj Ehlers
9 Alex Iafallo // 17 Adam Lowry // 22 Mason Appleton
36 Morgan Barron // 15 Rasmus Kupari // 7 Vladislav Namestnikov
44 Josh Morrissey // 2 Dylan DeMelo
54 Dylan Samberg // 4 Neal Pionk
5 Brenden Dillon // 88 Nate Schmidt
37 Connor Hellebuyck
39 Laurent Brossoit