Florida Panthers kick off the new season on a high note

Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena — Courtesy: Shutterstock — YES Market Media

The Florida Panthers rocky off-season came to an end on Thursday evening when the puck was dropped on the first game of the 2022-23 campaign.

The Panthers ended up receiving goals from Patric Hornqvist, Eetu Luostarinen, Matthew Tkachuk in a 3-1 victory over the host New York Islanders.

“We framed the game in the way that this was the best possible opponent for us,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. ”They are going to play you as hard defensively as you are going to see in the NHL and they are not going to give you anything. You are going to get frustrated.”

Florida kept their winning streak going on Saturday afternoon, conquering the host Sabres 4-3 in Buffalo.

It was an extremely eventful week for Panther Nation, with a new player joining the team, two victories, and a potential look at the team’s new Reverse Retro jerseys.

In other Panthers news, Aaron Ekblad and Sasha Barkov reflected on how they both woke up to the news of another trade involving their teammates.

When the Panthers first announced their shocking blockbuster trade deal of sending Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar west to get their hands on Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames on July 22, 2022, two of their star players had no idea until hours later. 

The news of the trade was released around 11 p.m. on a Friday evening. Barkov was traveling in Finland, while Ekblad was sound asleep at his Fort Lauderdale home.

“In the summertime, I can’t stay up past 9:30 so I was sleeping,” he recalled. “My wife woke me up the next morning and told me about the trade. I was surprised like everyone was.”

This trade sent shockwaves throughout the entire hockey community, specifically stunning the players on the Florida Panthers team momentarily.

But for Barkov and Ekblad, it was something they have become well acquainted with. They are two of the longest-tenured players on the team with third place-Sergei Bobrovsky-not nearly as close.

“We have survived,” Ekblad stated.

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