Florida Panthers

Panthers stymied by physical Flyers, backup goalie

The Flyers’ Michael Raffl high-sticks the Panthers’ Dave Bolland, right, as Dmitry Kulikov moves in during the first period Monday night. The Flyers defeated the Panthers 1-0.
The Flyers’ Michael Raffl high-sticks the Panthers’ Dave Bolland, right, as Dmitry Kulikov moves in during the first period Monday night. The Flyers defeated the Panthers 1-0. Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

The only resemblance Monday’s rematch had from Saturday’s season opener was the single goal hung on the board by the Flyers — a goal good enough for victory.

Philadelphia, scorched and embarrassed by the Panthers a few days prior, played a physical game as expected and got good goaltending in Monday’s 1-0 victory over Florida.

The Flyers opened the season with a pair of losses in the Sunshine State, including a 7-1 thrashing in Sunrise.

The Panthers expected a different Flyers team playing at home for the first time and got exactly that.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy after they got embarrassed like that, knew it would be a hard-fought game,’’ said Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, who made 32 saves and threw a few rare punches in a chippy second period.

“The [physical play] carried over from the previous game. It was a good atmosphere in the building, but I’m disappointed we didn’t get anything out of it.”

The Panthers definitely could have used some of Saturday’s goals Monday against backup goalie Michal Neuvirth, who was filling in for Steve Mason.

Mason, absent to deal with a personal family issue, didn’t last seven minutes Saturday as the Panthers scored their first four off just eight shots.

Monday, Neuvirth was solid and helped keep Florida at bay — especially on the power play. Neuvirth and the Flyers killed off an early four-minute power play that set the tone for the night.

The Panthers went 0-6 with the advantage after scoring three such goals over the weekend.

“I don’t think we played our style of hockey in the first two periods,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said. “Our first two power plays I thought we excellent, we were moving it, shooting the puck. Then we didn’t get the chances. Philly played well.”

Florida trailed 1-0 after Brayden Schenn knocked in a loose puck off a shot from Sam Gagne just moments after Florida’s four-minute power play ended 5:57 into the game.

The Panthers had numerous chances snuffed out by Neuvirth (31 saves) but few bigger than a 15-second sequence late in the third when Alex Petrovic’s shot got behind Neuvirth yet he somehow kept the puck from going in.

“It felt like a playoff game, it was buzzing in there,” Petrovic said. “We knew they would be different after last game; we beat them out of the barn. But we were desperate, we wanted to win. We didn’t want to leave a .500 team.”

Moments later after Petrovic’s chance was stopped, Jonathan Huberdeau’s shot toward the upper corner nicked Sean Couturier as he slid into the play.

“We need to go to the net harder, we didn’t play as well as we did at home,” Huberdeau said. “We knew they were going to come out hard but we need to deal with that, need to be better.”

▪ Rookie Rocco Grimaldi was sent to Florida’s AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine, after missing the past three weeks with an ankle injury.

▪ Luongo got involved in a second period skirmish in which Radko Gudas — who has pestered the Panthers since his days with the Lightning — skated into Luongo after the play was stopped by the cage.

As he two teams converged near the net, Luongo threw a few punches in the neighborhood of Evgeny Medvedev but wasn’t cited as Erik Gudbranson and Gudas took the roughing penalties for the others on the ice.

“That was the third or fourth time there was some action near the crease,” Luongo said. “It just the heat of the moment.”

Tuesday: Panthers at Hurricanes

When/where: 7 p.m.; PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina.

TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM 560, WMEN 640.

Series: Carolina leads 54-41-11.

Scouting report: This will be the first back-to-back game of the young season for the Panthers. Florida swept the season series against Carolina last year for the first time in franchise history. Backup Al Montoya is expected to start against Eddie Lack.

Related stories from Miami Herald