The Florida Panthers top line combined for seven points in a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in the Cats next-to-last road game of the season. Florida snapped a grusome three-game losing streak to collect its 35th win and 80th point of the campaign.
Evgenii Dadonov deflected in the game’s first goal thirty seconds into the action and added two assists to hit 66 points, a new career-high for the Russian winger.
Aleksander Barkov drew the primary assists on the Panthers first and third tallies to become just the third player in franchise history to reach 90 points.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice in the game to push his goal total to 27 and is now up to 86 points. Huberdeau took a crossing pass from Barkov on his backhand before switching to his forehand to put the Cats up 3-1 6:31 into the second period and completed the scoring with an empty-netter from Dadonov with 14 seconds left on the clock.
Rookie Dryden Hunt had a strong game for the Panthers, coming up with an empty-net goal from long range and making a real nice play on Florida’s second goal when he controlled the puck behind the Ottawa goal, skated out towards the blue line before turning around and taking a shot that was deflected by Riley Sheahan, then deflected down in front of the net and put in by Troy Brouwer.
Roberto Luongo was solid in goal, finishing with 28 saves, and NCAA signee Brady Keeper made his big-league debut and posted a +1 rating, a block and a shot on goal in 12:40 of ice time. Keeper became the first member of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation to play in the NHL.
The only negative on the night was the pairing of Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle, who were victimized on both Senators goals and combined for five giveaways.
Colin White went right at and then around Ekblad before beating Luongo with a great shot to tie the game 12:59 into the first period.
Brian Gibbons split the pair to set up Brady Tkachuk, who looped around Ekblad and finished with a backhander to cut the deficit to 3-2 early in the final frame.
The Cats will finish off its four-game road trip in Boston on Saturday afternoon.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)