Newly acquired Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett had an impactful night. Literally. Bennett scored his first goal since the Panthers snagged him from the Calgary Flames at the NHL trade deadline last week. And Bennett made his presence felt in other ways, too.
Bennett also dropped the mitts on Monday as the Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 at the BB&T Center.
For the second game in a row, the new Panthers’ second line lit the lamp, and Bennett’s was a beauty. On the rush, the Panthers line with Anthony Duclair, Bennett, and Jonathan Huberdeau was three-wide and at full speed as they entered the Columbus zone. Bennett drove to the net, and Huberdeau put the puck on his stick.
On the same night when Patrick Marleau broke Gordie Howe’s all-time games-played record, Bennett almost had the Gordie Howe hat trick. Bennett was only an assist short of the feat.
Bennett has three points in his first two games with the Panthers, including the goal on Monday night and two assists on Saturday at Tampa Bay.
We’d say the Panthers may have struck gold by acquiring Sam Bennett. There were many teams who inquired to Calgary Flames GM Brad Treveling, but it was Panthers GM Bill Zito who got it done.
Bennett has 15 points (5g, 10a) this season.
Later in the second period, Bennett made his literal impact, too. After Columbus defenseman Gavin Beyreuther delivered a high hit to Anthony Duclair, Bennett rushed to his linemate’s defense. And the scrap was on.
The Panthers are involved in a three-way scrap atop the Central Division with defending Stanley Cup winner Tampa Bay Lightning, and now the Carolina Hurricanes, too.
After the Florida Panthers win over Columbus, they are tied with Carolina for the division lead, but Carolina has two games in hand. Both teams lead Tampa Bay by one point.
The Panthers play again Tuesday night as rookie goalie Spencer Knight makes his much-anticipated NHL debut.