On Monday night the Florida Panthers tied a franchise record with five power-play goals in one game en route to a 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was something few would have predicted for the Panthers — regardless of their new coach and several new players — who were coming off a year in which they finished worst in the league on the man advantage at 13.1 percent.
But the Panthers (3-1-0) notched power-play goals from four different players – Tomas Kopecky, Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg (twice) and Jason Garrison – as they exploited the Lightning penalty kill, which was among the top 10 units in the league during the 2010-11 campaign.
While Florida has only played four games, and five of its league-best eight power-play tallies came against Tampa Bay, it’s safe to say that staying disciplined and minimizing the opportunities for the Panthers on the power play would be a good course of action for the Capitals.
“They were pretty quick,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Florida. “They made some good plays, good adjustments to what Tampa was doing. They had their mojo going last night, for sure.”
Boudreau said the key was the Panthers’ constant movement in reaction to what was being given or taken away by the Lightning, so look for tonight to present a good early challenge for Washington’s penalty kill.
“We’ve been slowly picking away, and [Monday night] it exploded,’’ Coach Kevin Dineen said Monday night to the Miami Herald. “We’d like to take credit for all our schemes, but there was a lot of high-end talent taking shots. They weren’t pretty plays, but we were getting the puck at the net.’’