Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s goal propels Florida Panthers to early lead over Connor Bedard’s Blackhawks

Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s goal led the Florida Panthers to an early lead of 1-0 against the Chicago Blackhawks, just 39 seconds into the game. He capitalized on a faceoff won by Sam Bennett and secured his fourth goal of the season with an assist from Sam Reinhart and Evan Rodrigues. Ekman-Larsson, known as “OEL,” has been an asset to the Panthers in the NHL, with impressive statistics in the 2023-24 season. His career began with Tingsryds AIF and Leksands IF before being drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2009. He achieved milestones with the Coyotes, including becoming the first Swedish-born defenseman to score over 20 goals in one season. Following a stint with the Vancouver Canucks, Ekman-Larsson signed a one-year contract with the Panthers for the 2023–24 NHL season. His experience and defensive prowess aim to contribute to the team’s success.