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Matthew Tkachuk Scores, Florida Panthers Lose to Islanders

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Tkachuk
Matthew Tkachuk celebrates scoring his first goal in three weeks with his Florida teammates during the second period of an eventual 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin)

SUNRISE — It had been a while since Florida Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk had scored a goal yet neither he nor the team seemed all too worried about it.

After scoring 82 combined goals with the Calgary Flames and Panthers over the past two regular seasons — not to mention what he did in the playoffs — there did not seem to be any concern that Tkachuk would get rolling again.

Perhaps his second-period goal in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders will get that ball rolling again.

The goal by Tkachuk, his first in 11 games, came on a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle with 6:26 to go in the second period.

That pulled the Panthers within a goal at 3-2.

It was his first goal since Nov. 10.

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“I think he had an awful lot of chances at the start of the year that didn’t go in and then it got a little dry,” coach Paul Maurice said. “Most of the lack of point production is from the power play. That’s where the numbers are off; 5-on-5 is pretty darn good.”

Tkachuk has had a lot of chances from the front of the net to start the season but has not been putting them through at his usual rate.

After scoring 40 goals last season, he has four in the first 23 games in this one.

That includes just two points in his past nine games.

“I’m not too worried about him,” Carter Verhaeghe said. “He is a hell of a player, one of the leaders on our team and one of the best players in the league. I think sometimes the puck isn’t bouncing. He’s getting a lot of good and he’s pretty good about sticking with it. He’s gonna get a lot of goals.”

Tkachuk’s line as a whole, which includes Verhaeghe and Sam Bennett, hit a rough patch in the back half of November.

They combined for just one goal in four games from Nov. 17-24.

Tkachuk and Verhaeghe both scoring on Saturday is promising to Maurice.

”It’s good that their line had 2,” Maruice said. “We know the chemistry is there. I think it’s starting to come.”

Bennett and Verhaeghe broke out of their slump during last week’s trip to Canada, each scoring two goals in three games during the trip.

Now Tkachuk snaps his drought.

Good for the Panthers — although the night did not end up the way they had hoped.

ON DECK

DALLAS STARS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • National TV/Streaming: TNT, HBO Max
  • Radio: WAXY 790-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Last Season: Dallas won 2-0
  • This Season — At Florida: Wednesday. At Dallas: March 12.
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 24-21-2, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Friday vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

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