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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Role Reversal: Anthony Duclair Ends Season Against Florida Panthers

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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Anthony Duclair returned to Sunrise twice with the Sharks and Lightning before the start of the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

SUNRISE — Anthony Duclair was part of the handshake line twice before when the Tampa Bay Lightning knocked his Florida Panthers out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2021 and 2022.

Monday night, the former Panthers forward was back in line congratulating the other side.

Many of those he shook hands with are his friends from the Panthers.

Duclair saw his season end on Monday night when the Panthers beat Tampa Bay 6-1 in Game 5.

He ended with two points off assists in the series.

Anthony duclair

Brandon Montour and former teammate Anthony Duclair hug following the Florida Panthers 6-1 win over the Lightning in Game 5 on Monday night in Sunrise. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Duclair started his season with the San Jose Sharks after the Panthers traded him to the San Jose Sharks for Steven Lorentz in a cap-saving move.

Although Duclair got off to a slow start with the last-place Sharks, his game was just starting to heat up when he was traded to the Lightning at the NHL Trade Deadline.

In 17 games with the Lightning, Duclair had eight goals and 15 points; he ended his season with 24/42 in 73 games.

Coming to the Lightning at the deadline with Duclair was defenseman Matt Dumba. The two have been friends for years.

“It was unbelievable,” Duclair said of being traded to the contending Lightning. “I was ecstatic to come here, play with some Hall of Famers, playing in a winning culture was unreal and an experience I will never forget. It was a great experience, coming here with one of my best buddies. It was fun.”

Duclair was involved in one of the bigger moments of Game 5 on Monday when it was ruled he interfered with Sergei Bobrovsky on Anthony Cirelli’s first-period goal.

That would have given the Lightning a 1-0 lead; instead, Tampa Bay never led nor were tied with the Panthers once Carter Verhaeghe opened the scoring in the second.

The Lightning, as had been the case in every game save for Game 4, were chasing the Panthers once again.

“They are a good team, credit to them. It starts with Bob,” Duclair said of the series. “He made some big saves in key times in the series. Kept them in the game. They are a well rounded built team, played hard. Obviously, losing the first two games was not ideal trying to get back in the series and losing the first one at home did not help.”

After the game, Duclair was asked about what his future may hold.

After signing a one-year ‘prove-it’ deal with the Panthers before the 2021 season, he earned a three-year contract with Florida the following year.

That contract has now expired and Anthony Duclair is a free agent again.

“We’ll see,” Duclair said Monday. “Have not thought about it.”

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. BOSTON (A2)/TORONTO (A3)
*Boston Leads Toronto 3-2 in Round 1
BEST-OF-7 SERIES
GAME 1

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