SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers opened their season with a subdued banner raising. They waited until the puck dropped to set off the fireworks.
Florida began its defense of the Southeast Division title Saturday night, unleashing its revamped second line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev on the unassuming Carolina Hurricanes. The trio combined for two goals and five assists in the Panthers' 5-1 win.
Following his team's morning skate, Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said he felt more prepared for the Panthers' game plan this season.
High-tempo. Up-and-down. Run-and-gun.
"They gave us a little trouble last year because of the style they play," Muller said. "We know them better now."
At least he thought they did.
Enter's the Panthers' second line. Or perhaps now, its first.
The Panthers, who ranked 27th in offense last season with just 197 goals, built a 5-0 lead 24 minutes into the game. And Florida's power play, which many predicted to see a dropoff in ...