PREVIEW: Panthers aim to ‘do whatever it takes’ against Islanders
SUNRISE, Florida – Fresh off a wild win in their first game of the season, the Panthers will look to make two in a row when they host the Islanders at FLA Live Arena on Saturday.
Stunning the Penguins for their first two points of the season on Thursday, Aaron Ekblad lit the lamp twice in the third period to bring the game into overtime, where Carter Verhaeghe recovered a pass from Alexander Barkov and scored his second goal of the game to lock in the 5-4 victory.
Known as the “Comeback Cats,” they have won six wins after being led by multiple goals in 2020-21.
“It’s huge to know that we have this under our belt, it will,” the Panthers defender Radko Gudas said after Friday practice. “Nobody gives up and everyone shoots for the same reasons. Everyone is in the system. Nobody is trying to do what they want. That’s a good thing.”
For Ekblad, who skated a high of 27:56 against Pittsburgh, the game marked his first regular-season game since undergoing surgery to repair a lower-body injury in March.
“He’s been awesome all night,” Verhaeghe said. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the league. I really wasn’t expecting anything else. He didn’t miss a step and scored some huge goals for us. He’s a leader in this team and he’s special. it’s good to find it. “
In addition to Verhaeghe and Ekblad who have each found the back of the net twice, nine players in total have scored at least one point against Pittsburgh. Antoine Duclair lit the flash for his first goal of the season, while Barkov distributed a pair of assists, with these two assists being the main ones.
Described by Ekblad as “incredible” after the victory, Sergey Bobrovsky stood on his feet while facing an onslaught of fire throughout the game. Making 43 saves on 47 shots, his biggest save came in overtime when he denied Evan Rodrigues a breakaway to strike the match winner Verhaeghe.
Back in the fold, the double winner of the Vézina Trophy will resume the start this evening.
“He made several key saves,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “They were at the net on their own and he absorbed pucks in tight spots there. [He had] nothing loose in these dangerous areas. I thought he looked sharp. He looked tall and in control. It was a good win for Bob. “
As for which areas they would like to clean up before their second game, Quenneville said he would like to see the Panthers perform better on special teams, especially after sending the Penguins on the power play nine times. Because while Bobrovsky helped weather the storm by stopping 18 of 20 shorthanded shots, those many trips to the surface aren’t something they want to get used to.
“I don’t think that’s a characteristic we’re going to be used to seeing,” Quenneville said.
On their second stop on a 13-game road trip to kick off the season while waiting for UBS Arena to open, the Islanders just lost 6-3 to Carolina on Thursday. In the loss, Ilya Sorokin made 35 saves in front of the net, while Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee lit the flash.
Veteran offseason additions Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise both made their Islanders debuts in loss, while Kyle Palmieri had two assists to take the lead in the team’s first scorers.
Like the Panthers, the Islanders were on the wrong side of the special teams battle in their first outing of the season, going 0 for 3 on the power play and 3 for 5 on the penalty kill against the Hurricanes.
“We seemed to have had some difficulty with them and just finding games,” Barzal said after the loss. “I didn’t feel like we could make that second play. We were sort of in the zone and that was the next play we couldn’t do.”
Due to last season’s adjusted pandemic schedule, tonight’s tilt will actually be the first between these two clubs since the Islanders knocked out the Panthers in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Revenge game, do you like it?
“It’s a very strong team,” Quenneville said of New York. “They are playing well. Position-wise, it’s basically error-free hockey. They are patient, so we want to make sure we don’t try to create too much in every situation. be part of this success. We have to play hard and do all the right things. “
–Sergei Bobrovsky is 16-10-0 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in 27 career appearances against the Islanders.
– Alexander Barkov has recorded 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 17 career games against New York.
– Joe thornton has 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 45 career games against the Islanders.
– The Panthers have won 12 of their last 13 home games since March 20.
RANGE OF PANTHERS
Without morning skating, follow @JamesonCoop on Twitter for pre-game lineup news.
– October 15: D Chase Priskie and F Maxime Mamin were loaned to Charlotte (AHL).
– Oct 14: D Olli juolevi was placed on the reserve casualty list.
– October 14: D Chase Priskie and D Matt Kiersted were recalled from Charlotte (AHL).
– Oct 13: D Markus Nutivaara was placed on the reserve casualty list.
– October 11: Dr. Lucas Carlsson and G Chris Gibson have been reassigned to Charlotte (AHL).
RECENT ARTICLES / PODCASTS
– Q&A: Lomberg talks about his first win, fan support and more!
– Plagens Panthers mailbag: 2021-22 opening night recap
– 5 to take away: Ekblad and Verhaeghe score twice as the Panthers’ best penguins
– Sasha Signs: Panthers lock up Cornerstone player in Barkov
– Territory Talk: Bill Zito joins the show; Make 2021-22 predictions
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
When: Thursday, October 14 at 6 p.m. ET
Or: FLA Live Arena – Sunrise, Florida
TV: Bally Sports Florida
Flux: Bally Sports app, ESPN + (outside region)
Radio: 790 WAX (Dade / Broward); 640 WOMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Key West); SiriusXM Channel 219 / Broadcast 932; The NHL app
ACTIVATIONS IN THE AREA
– As part of the new “Sunset Saturdays” promotion, fans can arrive at the arena at 4:30 p.m. to enjoy a special-priced happy hour on the CITY Furniture Patio, North Patio and JetBlue Tarmac. Families can also enjoy activations such as inflatables, slapshot station and more.
– Oktoberfest on the JetBlue Tarmac pre-match and inside the Coors Light cold zone during the match. Enjoy German food, beer, music and more!
– All fans who attend tonight’s game will receive a rally towel presented by HairClub.