Mon, 16 May 2022

Panthers bid to continue success at home vs. Knights

Field Level Media
27 Jan 2022, 05:55 GMT+10

The Florida Panthers will look to continue their scintillating play at home this season when they host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night in Sunrise, Fla.

The Panthers boast a 21-3-0 record at home in 2021-22.

Vegas, however, has been impressive on the road. The Golden Knights are 12-5-1 away from Sin City and are 4-1-1 overall vs. the Panthers.

This should be a good matchup. Vegas leads the Pacific Division with 53 points, and the Panthers top the entire league with 63.

Florida owns a 21-0-0 record when leading after two periods this season.

"It shows we're maturing as a group," Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said.

Former Panthers forward Jonathan Marchessault leads Vegas with 19 goals.

Florida's Mason Marchment is coming off a brilliant game on Tuesday, producing two goals and one assist in a 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Due to injuries, Marchment has played only 18 of Florida's 43 games, but he provides a bottom-six spark when healthy. His line totaled seven points, including two each from Anton Lundell (goal, assist) and Sam Reinhart (two assists).

"(Marchment) is so strong on the puck," Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe said. "He's an important piece to our team."

The Panthers haven't lost a home game since Dec. 16 against the Los Angeles Kings.

Florida is led by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who is 21-4-3 with four shutouts, a 2.46 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

All-Star winger Jonathan Huberdeau led the NHL in assists (42) and was tied for second in points (58) entering Wednesday's games.

The Panthers, though, feature a balanced attack with captain Aleksander Barkov, Anthony Duclair and Sam Bennett tied for the team goal lead with 18.

Vegas features some ex-Panthers flavor with coach Peter DeBoer, Marchessault, Evgenii Dadonov and Reilly Smith.

The Knights are off to a good start on a tough four-game trip. They posted a 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Monday before tying the Carolina Hurricanes late in the third period before losing 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday.

"We were opportunistic and got an important point," DeBoer said.

Vegas' trip ends with a game against Tampa Bay.

The last time the Knights were in Sunrise was during the 2019-2020 season. The result was a 7-2 rout of the Panthers, with six goals being scored on Bobrovsky before the two-time Vezina Trophy recipient was pulled.

Vegas captain Mark Stone, who came back from a two-game COVID-protocol absence Tuesday, had two goals and three assists in that 2020 contest vs. Florida.

Other current members of the Knights have enjoyed big games against Florida. In the first-ever matchup between the teams, Marchessault had one goal and two assists in a 5-2 win for Vegas.

In the 2018-2019 season, host Vegas won 6-5 in a shootout. Smith scored two goals and defenseman Shea Theodore had two assists before registering the only tally in the shootout.

Then, in 2019-2020, Stone, Smith and Max Pacioretty each recorded a two-goal game to help the Golden Knights complete a sweep.

The teams did not play each other last season, and this is their first meeting in 2021-2022.

Overall this season, Chandler Stephenson leads Vegas in assists (26) and points (38). Marchessault and Theodore each have 30 points, Smith 29 and Dadonov 21 for the Golden Knights.

Goalie Robin Lehner improved to 17-11-1 after posting a shutout against Washington on Monday. He has a 2.85 GAA and a .907 SP.

--Field Level Media

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