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Panthers power play should continue to come up big against Nashville

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Panthers power play
Aaron Ekblad, center, celebrates his goal on Monday with the rest of the Florida Panthers’ top power play unit (from left — Sasha Barkov, Patric Hornqvist, Jonathan Huberdeau and Keith Yandle). // Photo by Roger Topalian, 21st Century Photography

The Panthers have had one of the top power play units in the NHL this season and, with the Nashville Predators coming to town Thursday, hope to continue their run of success.

This month, the Panthers have scored eight goals on 28 chances with the man advantage — a success rate of 29 percent.

Over the course of the season, the Panthers are ranked sixth in the NHL as they are scoring on 27 percent of their chances.

Monday, the Panthers got their first two goals on the power play en route to a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

On Thursday, the Panthers welcome in Nashville, a team they — and just about everyone else — has had success against while on the power play.

Monday, however, the Preds held Tampa Bay scoreless on three power play chances helping lead to a 4-1 win.

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Even with that, Nashville continues to have the worst penalty kill in the NHL as opponents have been successful just over 21 percent of the time.

In four games against the Preds this season, Florida’s power play has scored five goals in 14 chances (36 percent).

Florida, which has won six of its past seven games, has been getting strong play from the entirety of its special teams units.

Chicago has one of the top power play units in the league (it is currently ranked fourth) but the Panthers shut things down in two victories.

The Blackhawks went 0-for-7 in their two losses, Florida’s penalty kill a big boost to a team whose power play gets most of the attention.

“Our PK was rolling, we’re taking pride in it,’’ said Aaron Ekblad, who has six of Florida’s 23 power play goals this season.

And the NHL award goes to … the Florida Panthers?

”Every team we jump over the boards we’re a little more excited to be out there and make a difference and change momentum on the PK.”

The Panthers are expected to start Sergei Bobrovsky in net once again as he has a personal six-game winning streak — longest since he signed with the Panthers in 2019.

Florida plays Nashville again on Saturday and are in Tampa on Sunday so Chris Driedger will likely get in this weekend.

Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers 

  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise
  • Tickets: AVAILABLE HERE
  • TV/Radio: FSF/560-AM
  • Records (standings): Florida 19-5-4, 42 points (T-1st in Central); Nashville 12-16-1, 25 points (7th)
  • All-time series: Florida leads 18-9-6 (3 ties)
  • Season series: Florida leads 3-0-1
  • Last season: Florida won 2-0
  • Up next: Nashville at Florida, Saturday, 2
  • Previous game: Panthers 6, Blackhawks 3
  • Panthers This Week — Monday: Florida 6, Chicago 3; Thursday: Nashville at Florida, 7; Saturday: Nashville at Florida, 2; Sunday: Florida at Tampa Bay, 4.

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINES

FLORIDA FORWARDS

19 Mason Marchment — 16 Sasha Barkov — 23 Carter Verhaeghe

11 Jonathan Huberdeau — 21 Alex Wennberg — 70 Patric Hornqvist

77 Frank Vatrano — 27 Eetu Luostarinen — 74 Owen Tippett

91 Anthony Duclair — 83 Juho Lammikko — 55 Noel Acciari

FLORIDA DEFENSEMEN

52 MacKenzie Weegar — 5 Aaron Ekblad

42 Gustav Forsling — 7 Radko Gudas

3 Keith Yandle — 6 Anton Stralman

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FLORIDA GOALIES

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

60 Chris Driedger

Scratches: F Vinnie Hinostroza, F Ryan Lomberg, D Markus Nutivaara

Injured: D Noah Juulsen (upper body)

Taxi squad: D Kevin Connauton, D Riley Stillman, F Grigori Denisenko, F Brett Connolly, G Philippe Desrosiers

Florida power play (23/85 27.1% — 6th in NHL)

Florida penalty kill (67/84 79.8% — 14th in NHL)

PP1: Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Patric Hornqvist, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle

PP2: Alex Wennberg, Frank Vatrano, Mason Marchment, Carter Verhaeghe, Gustav Forsling

PROJECTED NASHVILLE PREDATORS LINES

NASHVILLE FORWARDS

9 Filip Forsberg — 92 Ryan Johansen — 29 Eeli Tolvanen

19 Calle Jankrok — 64 Mikael Granlund — 33 Viktor Arvidsson

21 Nick Cousins — 56 Erik Haula — 23 Rocco Grimaldi

13 Yakov Trenin — 10 Colton Sissons — 25 Mathieu Olivier

NASHVILLE DEFENSEMEN

14 Mattias Ekholm — 90 Mark Borowiecki

38 Jeremy Davies — 5 Matt Benning

72 Frederic Allard — 57 Dante Fabbro

NASHVILLE GOALIES

35 Pekka Rinne

1 Jusse Saros

Nashville power play (19/94 20.2% — 18th in NHL)

Nashville penalty kill (66/97 68% — 31st in NHL)

PP1: Ryan Johansen, Mikael Granlund, Filip Forsberg, Eeli Tolvanen, Mattias Ekholm

PP2: Nick Cousins, Erik Haula, Calle Jarnkrok, Dante Fabbro, Viktor Arvidsson

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