After furiously rallying to claim a point against Boston on Monday, the Florida Panthers kept the goals coming in a 6-2 rout of the Ottawa Senators. The win snapped the Cats' three-game losing streak and moved them into a second place tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Florida-based clubs have 83 points, one fewer than the first place Bruins.
Methuselah man Jaromir Jagr got the Panthers off to good start, scoring his 22rd of the campaign at 13:07 of the first period. After taking a breakout pass off the boards from Brian Campbell, the crafty Jonathan Huberdeau gained the zone and froze defenseman Patrick Wiercioch before feeding Jagr for the one-time conversion. The goal was the 44-year-old Jagr's 50th point of the year.
The Senators pulled even with 23 seconds left in the frame when Zack Smith punched in the rebound of a Bobby Ryan shot that sat loose in the slot. Erik Karlsson drew the second assist on Smith's 20th goal.
Jussi Jokinen extended his scoring streak to nine when he lit the lamp 5:52 into the second period. Jokinen worked a nice give-and-go with Erik Gudbranson and beat Craig Anderson for his 14th goal. Vincent Trocheck collected the secondary assist on the play. Jokinen has accumulated 11 points (2G/9A) during his torrid nine-game run.
Ottawa struck back 47 seconds later to forge another tie. Smith combined with Mark Stone to set up Karlsson, who hammered a long shot from the point by Roberto Luongo, just inside the post.
The Panthers would explode for two goals in a fourteen second span midway through the period to restore order to the scoreboard.
After taking a nifty little pass from Jokinen, Trocheck rounded the net and found Aaron Ekblad wide open in the right circle. Ekblad ripped the backhand dish by Anderson for the eventual game-winner at 9:32.
Florida's top troika came out after the Ekblad goal and immediately went to work in the Ottawa end. Huberdeau notched his 14th after the puck squirted out in front and he was able to swipe it home on his second attempt.
The feasting Panthers tacked on two more in third period to cruise to victory number 37.
Trocheck found Jagr in the high slot and the wily veteran quickly pumped the puck past Anderson at the 4:26 mark for his second of the evening. The helper was Trocheck's third of the tilt.
Vincent completed his big night with a goal of his own at 10:59 from Reilly Smith. Smith stole the puck from Karlsson and sent it over to Trocheck, who went top-shelf for his 20th of the season. Trocheck tied a career-high with his fourth point. He also had four on opening night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Panthers will finish off the homestand on Saturday night against the aforementioned Flyers. Philadelphia's recent run of hot play has it just behind the playoff pack, so they will be a highly-motivated opponent.
Law & Order
- Jaromir Jagr became the fifth player in NHL history to post twenty 50-point seasons. The other four players: Ray Bourque, Ron Francis, Gordie Howe and Mark Messier. That's some pretty fine company.
- Vincent Trocheck became the fourth Panther in 2015-16 to hit the 20-goal mark. Last year, the club only had two 20-goal men; Nick Bjugstad and the recently-departed Brandon Pirri.
- Craig Anderson, usually a thorn in his old team's side, had a rough first game back from a knee injury. The Cats solved Anderson six times on 31 shots.
- After being beaten by Colorado and Boston, Roberto Luongo made 26 stops to post his first win since March 1st.
- Derek MacKenzie returned to the lineup after a five-game absence and registered 3 shots on goal, three hits, one block and went 13 for 22 in the face-off dot. Welcome back, D. MacK, we missed you.
- Jonathan Huberdeau has four points (1G/3A) in the two games since he returned to the roster.
- The fine folks at war-on-ice have the fancy stats stuff right here.
- NHL.com has the highlight package for you to see with your own eyes.
- Stop by Silver Seven for the other side of Florida's win over Ottawa. That's three of four this season.