Ice Hockey
Barkov and Bobrovsky hit career milestones in Panthers 2-0 win over Red Wings
Barkov and Bobrovsky hit career milestones in Panthers 2-0 win over Red Wings
Jun 24, 2024 2:26 AM

The Florida Panthers bounced back from their recent overtime loss in Boston, defeating the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena.

On the shoulders of Sergei Bobrovsky’s 22-save shutout performance, the Panthers improved their record to 5-3-1.

Here’s tonight’s takeaways.

Not a special night for special-teams

In a game that saw 10 total power plays, shockingly there were no special-teams goals.

The Panthers and Red Wings each had five chances on the man-advantage Thursday night, yet neither side could capitalize with an extra man.

Entering Thursday’s game Florida’s power play ranked 23rd in the league at just 14.3 percent. While they had nine shots on their five power play attempts — the man-advantage continued to struggle, going 0 for 5 on the night.

Compared to Florida, Detroit’s power play had been quite successful prior to Thursday’s matchup, ranking fourth in the league (32.4 percent).

Florida was able to keep the dangerous Wings power play from igniting, killing off all five of their opportunities.

“I think our penalty kill is a lot like our powerplay. The numbers aren’t very good at all,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “But, we’ve been perfect in our last three games… They battled hard. We won faceoffs, they blocked shots and we got saves, that’s penalty killing.”

Steven Lorentz gets his first goal as a Panther

Ever since Steven Lorentz arrived in South Florida this summer, the 27-year-old has been all smiles.

Thursday night there was another reason for Lorentz to be happy — he scored his first goal with the Panthers.

With the game still scoreless in the final minute of the second period, Lorentz would break the deadlock.

Coming into the Detroit zone down the left side, Lorentz sent a relatively harmless shot on goal towards Red Wings goalie James Reimer. The puck would bounce off Reimer’s glove, onto the crossbar, then off Reimer’s back before going in the net.

“It felt good,” Lorentz said about his goal. “Anytime you get a goal in the first or last minute of the period it’s a bit of a backbreaker for the other team.”

It was definitely a weird series of events leading up to the goal that gave Florida a 1-0 lead — but they don’t ask how it went in on the box score.

The goal was also Lorentz’s first point of the season.

Sergei Bobrovsky gets first shutout of the season, plays 650th career game

It’s been a busy start to the regular season for Florida’s No. 1 goalie. Bobrovsky has started all but one of Florida’s nine games so far this season, and tonight was a milestone night for the Russian netminder.

Bobrovsky became the 41st goaltender in the history of the National Hockey League to play in 650 career games.

“It’s a great win,” Bobrovsky said postgame. “You don’t think too much about your personal achievements. I think we all focus now on the standings and that team (Detroit) is ahead of us.”

On his big night, Bobrovsky would stop all 22 shots he faced — picking up his 39th career shutout, and first since December 13, 2022 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“Bobby obviously stood on his head,” Lorentz said. “Game 650, that’s an unbelievable accomplishment, and what a way to show it, him coming out here and getting a shutout.”

Bobrosvky is now at four wins on the season.

Aleksander Barkov sets franchise record

On the same night as Bobrovsky’s milestone, Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov became the franchises’ all-time leader in games played with 672.

Drafted second-overall in 2013 by the Panthers, Barkov has been with the organization since he was 17-years-old.

The once baby faced Barkov has evolved into one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL and a face of hockey in South Florida.

“He does it all. He can do everything,” Bobrovsky said about Barkov. “If you give him goalie gear he’s going to be great at it. It’s great to have him on the team.”

Tonight Barkov surpassed his former teammate and friend Jonathan Huberdeau for sole possession of the Panthers’ franchise record for games played.

At 28-years-old, Barkov is already in year 11 of his NHL career. Over the last decade, the Finnish forward has gained respect from his teammates, coaches, and opponents across hockey.

“He hasn’t changed, he’s the exact same player,” said Dmitry Kulikov — who was with Florida when Barkov was a rookie. “He came into the league good and he’s still really good.”

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