The kids looked alright for the Florida Panthers for a while in Raleigh on Wednesday night.
Then the third period started.
The Carolina Hurricanes rolled an inexperienced Florida squad, scoring three times in the first four-plus minutes of the final period and won 4-1.
“I think for the first 40 minutes we were pretty good,” said Zac Dalpe, captain of Florida’s AHL Charlotte Checkers.
“Obviously it looked like we ran out of gas, and then their goals came in bunches.”
Dalpe was one of only a few veteran players who dressed for the Panthers as they wanted to get an extended look at their young talent.
That squad full of young, fringe players will get another look in Florida’s next two preseason games against Carolina at home and in Nova Scotia on Sunday according to Paul Maurice.
Of course, there will be a few more veterans mixed in to fit the NHL’s preseason roster requirements.
On Wednesday, however, Carolina played a large contingent of its regulars — and Florida’s kids just could not hold them off as the NHL-caliber talent took over.
This game was the first time Carolina and Florida met on the ice since the Panthers swept the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals.
Coming into the season, Carolina is the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup; Find out more about Ohio sportsbooks.
The Panthers will play host to Carolina in their fourth preseason game on Friday night.
Here are some observations from Wednesday night’s preseason loss:
- Spencer Knight had another solid outing to start his preseason. He stopped the first 17 shots he faced before Carolina’s onslaught. Knight made a slew of spectacular saves and finished the night off with 28 saves on 31 shots, bringing his preseason save percentage to a .931.
- Grigori Denisenko had a rough night, taking a couple of ill-advised penalties and finishing the night with a minus-2.
- John Ludvig had another strong performance, blocking three shots and making a couple of big defensive stops in the second period to ease things for Knight, who had to make 12 saves in the first period.
- Matt Kiersted joined in on the second-period block party, blocking three shots as well. He did not make a whole lot of mistakes in a game full of them, either.
- Steven Lorentz dominated in the face-off dot, winning eight of the 12 he took to finish the night at 67 percent.
- Rasmus Asplund was a non-factor in his Panthers preseason debut, turning the puck over twice. He is on a two-way deal and will more than likely start in Charlotte.
- Skyler Brind’Amour made one of the nicest plays of the game, going between the legs to get around a Hurricanes defender before getting a backhand shot off. Antti Raanta came up with the save.
- Do not overreact to this one: This Panthers team was way overmatched and full of tired legs from a rough training camp. The next two games should be a better measuring stick for the young guys before the dress-rehearsal games against Tampa Bay.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
PRESEASON VS CAROLINA HURRICANES
- When: Friday, 6 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Radio: None
- Streaming: FloridaPanthers.com
LOOKING AHEAD FOR THE PANTHERS
- Sunday: Preseason vs. Ottawa at Sydney, Nova Scotia; 4 p.m. (NHLN)
- Oct. 3: Preseason vs. Tampa Bay at Orlando Arena, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5: Preseason at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 7: Preseason vs. Tampa Bay, 6 p.m.
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild (BSF)
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (BSF)