Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Panthers look to ride potent power play past Blues

Field Level Media
26 Nov 2022, 22:55 GMT+10

The Florida Panthers will aim to continue their recent success on the power play Saturday evening when they host the St. Louis Blues.

The Panthers are 11-for-30 on the man advantage over the past eight games for an impressive 36.7 success rate.

Five of those 11 goals have come from Sam Reinhart, who said his team's flow on the power play has improved of late.

"It hasn't been as structured," Reinhart said of the power play. "We're not so worried about finding our spots. (Instead), we're attacking and reading off each other, and it's been working."

Reinhart led the Panthers last season with 16 power-play goals.

This season, Reinhart (five) and captain Aleksander Barkov (four) are Florida's leaders in power-play goals. Matthew Tkachuk (seven), Barkov (five), Brandon Montour (five) and defenseman Aaron Ekblad (four) are Florida's leaders in power-play assists.

Overall, Tkachuk leads the Panthers in assists (18) and points (27). He's also on a five-game point streak with four goals and six assists.

Reinhart has four goals and one assist in his past five games.

"Those are two guys with incredible hands," Panthers coach Paul Maurice said of Tkachuk and Reinhart. "They can create chaos."

Meanwhile, St. Louis has been a team of streaks this season.

The Blues started this season 3-0-0 before losing eight in a row. Then, the Blues won seven straight before losing two in a row, including Friday's 5-2 defeat at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Winger Pavel Buchnevich has been the Blues' hottest player over the past nine games, producing five goals and eight assists.

Jordan Kyrou, who scored on Friday, leads the Blues with seven goals. Buchnevich, who had one goal and one assist on Friday, is tied with Brayden Schenn in goals with six.

"Our mindset going in there is that we can't take our foot off the gas," Schenn said when asked about the Panthers.

Blues winger Noel Acciari, who has five goals and four assists, is set to face the Panthers for the first time since leaving the franchise following last season.

Acciari spent three seasons with the Panthers, scoring a career-high 20 goals there in the 2019-2020 season.

"I'm excited to see him before and after the game," Panthers winger Ryan Lomberg said of Acciari, who had consecutive hat tricks during that breakout season. "He's a heck of a competitor. It'll be good to battle against him."

It will be interesting to see if St. Louis goes with goalie Jordan Binnington, who has started eight of the past nine games, including the loss at Tampa Bay on Friday.

Binnington is 9-7-0 with a 3.05 goals-against average this season, while backup Thomas Greiss 1-3-0 with a 3.76 GAA.

The Panthers have a goalie duo of Sergei Bobrovsky (4-5-1, 3.62 GAA) and Spencer Knight (6-3-1, 2.39).

Last season, the Blues and Panthers split two games. Host Florida won 4-3 in a shootout on Dec. 4 before St. Louis returned home three nights later and recorded a 4-3 victory on Buchnevich's overtime goal.

--Field Level Media

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