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The Florida Panthers Played Their Game against the Penguins



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Anton Lundell celebrates his second goal of the game with his Florida teammates as they ran away from the host Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It took the Florida Panthers a little while to get going Wednesday night, but, that was just fine with them.

Powered by a four-goal second period, Florida took complete control of the Pittsburgh Penguins and surged to a 5-2 win on Wednesday night.

After a slow first period which saw both teams combine for just seven shots, Matthew Tkachuk picked up three points in the second period to help put the Panthers on top.

Speaking to the TNT broadcast team afterward, Tkachuk spoke about the Panthers not worrying about shots or scoring chances or anything else but taking it to the Penguins and setting themselves up for the latter stages of the game.

“The talk was ‘the first 10 minutes, there’s no puck out there’,” Tkachuk said.

“Let’s try and get as many hits as we can to wear down their defense for the third period. And, I mean, there was no puck out there. We didn’t have it.”

With the Penguins in desperation mode as they try and chase down a wild-card spot, they came out desperate only to see Florida grind them down in the opening 20.

Florida killed off two penalties as they threw one hit after another.

“On the road against a desperate team, we did what we needed to do to almost even the playing field a little bit,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said.

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“They had a huge emotional advantage on us going into the game and I thought we flattened it out by the end of the first.”

By the 5-minute mark of the second period, the Panthers were able to burst through Pittsburgh’s defenses.

Two minutes after the Penguins appeared to get on the board first via a power play goal called back due to a high-stick, Tkachuk got them on the board.

Tkachuk sprung out on an odd-man rush with Evan Rodrigues, who came streaking out of the box to join him, and finished off a give-and-go play 4:28 into the second period to put Florida ahead 1-0.

Jonah Gadjovich scored 34 seconds later, deflecting a Brandon Montour shot past Tristan Jarry to give the Panthers a two-goal cushion.

Aaron Ekblad added a third goal via a quick wrist shot on the power play 8:27 into the second period to make it a three-goal cushion.

Anton Lundell finished off the four-goal run with 8:58 to go in the second with a quick tap-in from Tkachuk sprung by a cross-ice feed by Nick Cousins.

Even after a Bryan Rust goal with 4:36 to go — one which Florida unsuccessfully challenged for goaltender interference — the Penguins could not dig themselves out of the hole.

Lundell added a second goal 5:35 into the third period to put the game out of reach.

“It always feels good to get a win, and really feels good to get two goals,’’ Lundell said.

John Ludvig scored his first NHL goal against the Panthers team that drafted him in 2019 and waived him ahead of this season to make it a three-goal game less than a minute later.

But Sergei Bobrovsky stopped the last six shots he faced to close the game out and stopped 25 of 27 overall to extend his personal winning streak to five games.

The Panthers have won three straight and seven of their last eight to move within two points of the Boston Bruins for the top seed in the Atlantic Division.

“We are planning on playing 82 games-plus,” Tkachuk told TNT.

“It isn’t easy but that’s what we train for. It’s what we practice for. We are surrounded by some incredible work ethics in this locker room and guys that push each other every day. It’s a tough, demanding style of play. We want to give the other team zero ice to play on, but that’s what we practice and train for.”



  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Key Bank Arena, Buffalo
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Season Series — At Buffalo: Thursday. At Florida: Feb. 27 (ESPN+); April 13.
  • Last Season: Florida won 3-1
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 54-45-8, 4 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.

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