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‘He’s not Connor McDavid’: Panthers say they’re not worried about Marchessault

Updated June 8, 2023 - 10:41 am

SUNRISE, Fla. — Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault is usually one of the most talkative players in the NHL.

But he’s too focused on winning games and keeping his hot streak alive in the Stanley Cup Final to engage in a war of words with the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers, who trail the series 2-0, with Game 3 on Thursday, are looking for answers. They haven’t had many for the Knights and Marchessault, who has three goals — one fewer than the Florida team.

But forward Ryan Lomberg insists he isn’t worried about how the Panthers are going to slow Marchessault.

“It’s not Connor McDavid or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just a matchup in the series.”

He wasn’t done.

A video had been released on social media of Marchessault brushing off Lomberg’s attempts to ratchet up the physicality earlier in the series.

“You’re not worth it, little man,” Marchessault said to his fellow 5-foot-9-inch opponent during the brief clip.

Lomberg, however, said Marchessault hasn’t done much talking during the series.

“I haven’t heard much,” he said Wednesday. “It’s usually when I’m skating the other way, anyways. That’s what I’ve seen.”

Marchessault appeared unbothered when informed of the comments.

“He’s the kind of guy that wants to get me out of my game, and I can’t answer that, really,” he said. “For me, it doesn’t matter what he says. I’m here to win some hockey games.”

Marchessault also chuckled about the release of the video.

“They wanted to get things spiced up, I guess,” he said.

Marchessault didn’t say much in front of the cameras and recorders, but he was his usual talkative self during practice. At one point during a drill, he was chirping Brett Howden and Paul Cotter so loudly it could be heard by reporters in the stands.

“He was mic’ed up today, but it doesn’t take a mic for him to be heard,” defenseman Alec Martinez said.

No concern over Karlsson

Forward William Karlsson was the only Knights player who was absent for Wednesday’s practice at FLA Live Arena.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said he expects Karlsson to be available for Game 3.

“(He) is just a little under the weather,” Cassidy said. “He’ll be fine tomorrow, so we kept him away from the rink.”

Staying sharp

Even when the Knights are enjoying some down time during the grueling rigors of the postseason, they rarely stop competing.

In each stop along the way, the team hotel will have a team lounge with space to relax and enjoy meals.

There’s often games in that area.

“I think Dallas had Connect 4, and there were some pretty heated matchups,” Martinez said. “We played hangman a little bit, too. We’ve got cornhole here, and there’s an ax-throwing game.”

Martinez paused to ease any concerns and clarify they are not real axes.

“Poker’s competitive, too,” he said. “Different card games. It’s kind of a mixed bag.”

Panthers staying with Bobrovsky

Florida coach Paul Maurice confirmed Wednesday the plan is to start Sergei Bobrovsky in net for Game 3.

The goaltender entered the series as the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Award as the playoff MVP, but he has surrendered four goals in each of the first two games.

The four goals came on just 13 shots in Game 2 before Bobrovsky was pulled in the second period in favor of Alex Lyon.

Maurice also expects defenseman Radko Gudas, who was knocked from Monday’s game after a big hit by Ivan Barbashev in the first period, to play Thursday.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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