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5 Takeaways: Slow Start Costs Panthers in Loss to Hurricanes

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

10/8/19 Post Game Interviews

10/8/19 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forward Aleksander Barkov and defenseman Keith Yandle

  • 01:10 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers surrendered four goals in the first period and were unable to recover in an eventual 6-3 loss to the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at BB&T Center.

"You can't put yourself in a hole like we dug tonight," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said.

Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen, Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Dzingel each found the back of the net in the first period for the Hurricanes, who improved to 4-0-0 on the season. Early in the middle frame, Dzingel scored again to push the lead to 5-0. Shortly after, MacKenzie Weegar got Florida on the board at 5-1.

"Some of those goals were self-inflicted," Quenneville said of the first period. "Whether we're not ready to play, you get down one or two [goals] at home in the first period it's going to hurt a bit… I didn't like our response. We got going a little too late in the game when the game was over."

In the third period, Keith Yandle and Evgenii Dadonov each converted on the power play to cut Florida's deficit down to 5-3. With the goaltender pulled and time winding down in regulation, the Panthers had several good looks but were unable to beat former Panthers goalie James Reimer, who made 47 saves.

With just over a minute left in the game, Sebastian Aho put the Hurricanes up 6-3 with an empty netter.

"Of course the start wasn't what we expected," Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. "We can't come here and expect we're going to play well all the time. It doesn't matter how we approach the game, we're not going to play well if we don't work hard enough.

"It starts with myself, by not being ready at the beginning of the game. I know it's the beginning of the season, but you have to be ready right from the start. We're going to learn from this, for sure, and keep moving forward."

After posting 10 shots in the first period, the Panthers registered 40 over the final two frames.

"I think we came out a little flat," Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle said. "I don't know if we weren't ready to start or what it was, but we showed a lot of pride in working to come back. It's one of those things that's too little too late. When you give up four in the first period, it's tough to battle back."

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday night's loss in Sunrise…

1. MISSED OPPORTUNITY

The Panthers missed out on a golden opportunity to start tonight's game off on the right foot.

Trailing 1-0 after Staal's goal at 6:48 of the first period, the Panthers were put in a prime position to tie the game up when the Hurricanes were whistled for a pair of penalties in rapid succession. With 1:10 of a 5-on-3 power play to work with, Florida fired off two shots on goal but came up empty handed in the end.

"It's always, to me, a turning point in the game," Quenneville said of the team's early 5-on-3 power play opportunity. "You don't score on it, you're usually in trouble. It's something that wasn't sharp, and that kind of reflected what our first period was all about."

After surviving the previously mentioned 5-on-3 power play, the Hurricanes went on the offensive.

Just 24 seconds after Florida's man advantage had ended, Teravainen re-directed a shot past Sergei Bobrovsky to extend Carolina's lead to 2-0 at 11:04. Just a few minutes later, with the teams playing 4-on-4 after a pair of offsetting minor penalties, Hamilton scored a one-timer to make it 3-0 at 15:37. With the period winding down, Dzingel scored on the power play to put Carolina up 4-0.

"Of course four goals is a big lead in this league," Barkov said. "In the second period we could've scored a couple more goals to get back in the game. But it's tough, especially against that team, which is on a roll and playing really well right now and playing together. We need to learn from that."

2. WEEGAR NETS NO. 1

After a tough opening frame, Weegar got one back for the Panthers in the second period.

Less than three minutes after Dzingel made it 5-0 with his second goal of the game, Weegar wasted no time in answering for the Panthers, crashing the net after a shot from Barkov and burying the ensuing rebound from the blue paint to trim the deficit down to 5-1 at 3:51 of the middle frame.

Video: CAR@FLA: Weegar puts Panthers on board in 2nd

His first goal of the season, Weegar, a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, posted career-highs in goals (4), assists (11), games played (64) while averaging 16:58 of ice time per game in 2018-19.

3. IRON YANDS

Yandle has moved into the top-5 among the NHL's all-time iron men.

By taking the ice tonight against the Hurricanes, the 33-year-old defenseman officially took part in his 800th consecutive NHL game - the fifth-longest streak in league history. While he still sits 164 games behind Doug Jarvis' all-time record of 964, he could pass Andrew Cogliano (830) for fourth this season.

The last time Yandle missed a game was March 22, 2009 as a member of the then-Phoenix Coyotes.

To mark the milestone, Yandle netted his first goal of the season, taking a pass from Mike Hoffman and burying a slap shot on the power play to make it 5-2 with 10:26 left in the third period. Yandle, who had a career-high 62 points last season, has now tallied a goal and an assist through three games this year.

Video: CAR@FLA: Yandle nets PPG on give-and-go

"I think the message is clear that we've got to play our system to the drop of the puck until the end of the game," Yandle said. "Once we buckled down and played the way [the coaches] want us to play, in the second and third you could tell we were the more dominant team, but we were chasing too much." Against the Hurricanes, Yandle led the Panthers in shots on goal (8) and ice time (25:54).

4. DADONOV GETS ONE LATE

Dadonov made things interesting in the third period.

With the Panthers on the power play, the 30-year-old winger took a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau and buried a one-timer from the slot to cut Carolina's lead down to 5-3 with 4:08 remaining in regulation.

Barkov was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, giving him two helpers in the game.

Video: CAR@FLA: Dadonov nets Huberdeau's dish for PPG

A key contributor on Florida's top line, Dadonov is coming off a year in which he set new career-highs in both assists (42) and points (70) in 2018-19, while also scoring 28 goals for the second straight season.

Yandle said he liked the fight the team showed in the game's waning minutes.

"It's definitely a good sign that we didn't roll over," he said. "You like the fact that our group didn't roll over and just take the loss. We worked until the end. It shows good pride from our group."

5. MONTEMBEAULT IN RELIEF

Sam Montembeault saw his first action of the season tonight.

After Bobrovsky surrendered four goals on 14 shots, Quenneville said he wanted to "change it up" and sent the 22-year-old netminder into the game to start the second period. Over the final 40 minutes of action, the rookie turned away 19 of 20 shots to keep the Panthers within striking distance for a while.

In the preseason, Montembeault stopped 90 of 95 shots over three appearances to win the backup job.

"He played great," Yandle said of Montembeault's performance. "He gave us a chance to get back in it. We feel bad that we hung Bob [Bobrovsky] out to try, especially with how he played last game for us. It's just one of those things, for us, that'll be a good test for us to see how we respond."

An AHL All-Star last season, Montembeault, a third-round pick in the 2015 draft, made his NHL debut and saw time in 11 games with the Panthers in 2018-19. During that short stint towards the end of the season, he registered a 4-3-2 record behind a 3.05 goals-against average and .894 save percentage.

Overall, Quenneville said he liked how Montembeault responded to being put in a difficult situation.

"He did some good things there," he said. "He handled the puck, but didn't get much action. He certainly did what he had to do."

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