The Panthers made things look easy in their 7-1 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers in Saturday’s season opener.
They are expecting a much different experience in Monday’s rematch in Philadelphia.
The Flyers will host the Panthers in their home opener at Wells Fargo Center after a winless two-game Florida swing.
“It’s not going to be the type of game we had [Saturday] night,” Nick Bjugstad said after Sunday’s brief morning practice in Sunrise before the team flew north. “I think they’re going to use their anger, and we know they’re a better team. We got some bounces. We can’t come in too excited, ride in on a high horse. We won a game. We have to move on.”
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Philadelphia lost at Tampa Bay in overtime on Thursday then was quickly dispatched by the Panthers as Florida scored four goals in the first seven minutes Saturday.
Afterward, the Flyers held a closed meeting in which players talked about their poor start.
“You have to turn the page,” Philadelphia’s Mark Streit told reporters Saturday, “and we play those guys on Monday. And it’s a whole new game.”
Once the game got out of hand, things got chippy with Shawn Thornton fighting Ryan White near the end of the first with skirmishes breaking out throughout the second and third periods.
Expect a little more of that nastiness Monday as the Flyers will be egged on by a capacity home crowd.
“They are going to be ticked off, and it won’t be easy,” Dave Bolland said. “I’ve played a lot of games in Philly, and they’re not easy games. They’re a tough team, have a lot of firepower and fight in them. They didn’t back down.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ It took Bjugstad six games to get his first goal last season yet just five minutes into Saturday’s opener.
Bjugstad one-timed a sharp pass from Aaron Ekblad past goalie Steve Mason to make it 2-0. Bjugstad had a career-high 24 goals last season.
“Last year it took me a little bit,” Bjugstad said. “It’s nice to get that off your back early. But we played well. A lot of guys got that first one out of the way. It was nice to see everyone contribute.’’
▪ Florida executive Peter Luukko will be back at Wells Fargo Center in an official capacity Monday for the first time since leaving the Philadelphia organization in 2013 after more than 25 years.
Luukko, instrumental in putting together the marketing and sales team that led to Saturday’s sellout crowd of 19,424, says he still talks to many of the high-ranking members of the Flyers organization and is looking forward to seeing many of the lower-level employees he got to know at the arena Monday.
“You certainly want to win, and we all know we need these points in October,” said Luukko, who joined the Panthers in February. “I hear people say, ‘It’s just another game,’ but it isn’t. These guys are my friends.”
Monday: Panthers at Flyers
When/where: 7 p.m.; Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia.
TV/radio: FSNF; WQAM 560, WMEN 640.
Series: Philadelphia leads 47-33-7.
Noteworthy: This is Florida’s only visit to Philadelphia this season. The Panthers, who beat the Flyers 7-1 on Saturday, have won three of the past five in Philadelphia. After playing twice in three days, these two teams don’t play again until March 12.