Panthers get thumped 5-2 by visiting Hurricanes

Bennett and Montour lit the lamp in preseason loss

The Florida Panthers were soundly beaten 5-2 by the Carolina Hurricanes in preseason action last night at FLA Live Arena.

Special teams loomed large as the visitors scored twice on the power play and once shorthanded.

Stefan Noesen cashed in on a holding call on Brandon Montour 12:15 into first and then Derek Stepan added an unassisted shorthanded marker 3:35 later to put the Cats behind the eight ball.

Justin Robidas extended the Hurricanes to three early in the second period with the assists going to Joseph LaBate and Jamieson Rees.

Sam Bennett finally got the Panthers on the board when he beat Antti Raanta from the left side after Gustav Forsling’s shot was blocked and ended up on his blade. Eetu Luostainen collected the second assist on the goal which came at the 3:25 mark.

Vasiliy Ponomarev quickly restored Carolina’s three-goal advantage when he scored a power-play goal at 6:08, with one second left on Carter Verhaeghe’s tripping minor, from Maxime Lajoie and Jalen Chatfield.

Jack Drury tacked on another for the Hurricanes at 8:25 of the third before Montour completed the scoring with a pretty goal 3:02 later.

A sweet pass from Verhaeghe found the defenseman breaking open in front and he maneuvered around backup keeper Zach Sawchenko before depositing the puck in the net on the backhand. Aleksander Barkov drew the secondary assist.

Sergei Bobrovsky went the distance for the Cats in a rather pedestrian effort that saw the veteran stop 23 of 28 shots.

Raanta played the first two periods and finished with 20 saves before giving way to the 24-year-old Zawchenko, who made eight saves. Zawchenko appeared in seven games for the San Jose Sharks last season.

The two teams are scheduled to play each other Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, but with Hurricane Ian bearing down on the Carolinas, I wouldn’t be surprised if the game is postponed or simply cancelled outright. A good idea would be for the clubs to just stay put and play again in Sunrise.