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Wennberg’s hat trick leads Panthers over Lightning in first warmup for playoffs

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Panthers Lightning playoffs

Back in the day, the Florida Panthers used to host boxing matches at BB&T Center.

On Saturday, the Panthers and Lightning engaged in a little Saturday Fight Night as the two teams got reacquainted with one other — and their fists.

The Panthers won Saturday’s opening appetizer before the main course comes in the playoffs next week, getting another Alex Wennberg hat trick in a 5-1 win over the Lightning in Sunrise.

It appears whatever bad blood Florida’s two NHL teams have between them is warmed up again.

Both teams already appear sick of each other — and this thing hasn’t even really started yet.

The Panthers and Lightning played the first of what could be a nine-game set on Saturday.

The two teams combined for over two hours — 154 minutes (at last count) to be exact — of penalty time as six misconducts were handed out. By the time the game was over, both benches had plenty of room on them as a few teammates had been thrown out.

Saturday’s game not only featured at least a half dozen fights, but even had one during a timeout when Brandon Montour and Pat Marrone went at during a break as workers cleaned up rubber rats and ballcaps following Wennberg’s third goal.

This is really going to be fun, eh?

”I love it,’’ Sergei Bobrovsky said. “That’s the game of hockey and that’s the best of it. We had a good crowd behind us, had a great atmosphere and we’re going to see those guys a lot. I love everything about tonight’s game.”

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