What could have easily been a considered a minor trade for the Florida Panthers turned into a big deal on Saturday night as newly acquired defenseman T.J.Brennan didn’t take long to make his mark on the lineup.
Paired with veteran Brian Campbell to start the game, Brennan quickly acclimated himself to the Panthers’ game plan and became an important player almost immediately. Through two periods, Brennan was responsible defensively and even had a few nice slap shots on the power play – an offensive tool that has been missing since the departure of Jason Garrison.
When asked about his seamless transition into the Panthers’ lineup, Brennan had this to say:
“They kept emphasizing a simple game … I wasn’t gunna come in here and try and do too much … They told me to shoot when I can if I have any opportunities and I tried to do that tonight and it was good to get reunited back with Kevin (Dineen).”
Even though simply playing solid defense would have been enough to consider Brennan’s debut a success, the young defenseman went above and beyond the call of duty when he was able to score his first goal as a Panther – thus revitalizing the team’s offense for the night. Although they trailed 3-0 going into the 3rd period, Brennan’s goal sparked a goal scoring frenzy in which the Panthers scored 3 goals in rapid succession – 1:43 to be exact.
Brennan commented on the team’s offensive explosion after the game:
“Well it was definitely good to see, I think I was still catching my breath and we scored another one.”
On the night, Brennan ended up playing 23:42 while recording 1 goal, 3 hits, 1 blocked shot and 2 takeaways – not bad for debut. Brennan will now be charged with the tough task of continuing the high level of play that he showed tonight as the Panthers embark and an important road trip before heading back to Florida to play Brennan’s old team, the Buffalo Sabres, on March 28th.
On a defensive unit that has been unable to play consistently while buried under injuries the entire season, a player like Brennan could be just what the doctor ordered.
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