NHL Notebook: Panthers Defeat Vancouver; Shuffling off to Buffalo

By Mike Bonts

SUNRISE (Florida Sports Wire) – The Florida Panthers defeated Vancouver Saturday 4-3. The Panthers will play the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center at 1 p.m. (ET) on Monday.

“It has been good for a long time. It’s just now, it is fast. And so winning faceoffs, so we are not breaking the puck out nearly as much, and then moving the puck, so they keep control. That’s all,” noted Florida head coach Paul Maurice.

Eleven different Panthers registered a point. Florida has won four of their past six games (4-2-0), including three of their past four (3-1-0) at FLA Live Arena.

Aaron Ekblad registered two points (1-1-2) for his fourth multi-point game of the season and 48th of his career, the third-most by a Panthers defenseman in franchise history. Ekblad (157 home points) is nine home points away from surpassing Robert Svehla (165) for the most by a defenseman in franchise history.

“[He made] Huge saves. We follow Bob every night out of the tunnel. The way he prepares is second-to-none. He’s a great role model for this team and he plays big every night,” Ekblad said about netminder Sergei Bobrovsky's game.

Florida’s Ryan Lomberg scored his fifth goal of the season. Eric Staal scored his 448th NHL goal, matching Rick Middleton for 64th on the NHL all-time goals list.

“As a group, we’ve been playing well all year. A lot of the time it hasn’t gone our way, but now it’s time to go—we’ve got to get on the gas. It doesn’t matter we’ve just got to start getting points here,” Lomberg said.

Sam Bennett led Florida with six shots on goal.

Bobrovsky stopped 35 of 38 Vancouver shots against (.921 save percentage) for his fourth win in his past six appearances (4-2-0).

“Big win for us. It’s a big two points. It is not an easy game to play coming back from the west. I thought the guys did a great job. They stepped up when it was needed. It’s a big two points for us,” added Bobrovsky.

Panthers Notes: Sam Reinhart notched an assist to extend his point streak to three games (1-2-3). The West Vancouver, B.C. native also extended his personal point streak against the Canucks to nine games since Jan. 25, 2018, his longest point streak against one opponent in his career. Matthew Tkachuk posted an assist to extend his point streak to six games (5-5-10), the longest point streak by a Panthers skater this season. He leads the Panthers in goals (12), assists (16) and points (28) on home ice this season, and his plus-13 rating at FLA Live Arena is tied with Gustav Forsling and Brandon Montour for the club lead. Anton Lundell skated in his 100th NHL game, the seventh skater drafted in 2020 to reach the mark.

(Mike Bonts is hockey editor for the Florida Sports Wire and SportsDay)

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