Sam Bennett notched a hat trick and added an assist to power the Florida Panthers to a 7-1 rout over the Dallas Stars. It was the red-hot club’s 20th home win of the season.
With the score already 4-0, Cats in the second, Bennett scored a power-play goal from Brandon Montour and Anton Lundell at 12:37 and then added an unassisted marker 2:53 later. He scored the game’s final goal with 4:06 remaining, with the helpers going to Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Huberdeau.
It was Huberdeau’s third assist of the night and Duclair’s second. Both wings scored goals earlier in the game. The Duke struck with a pretty move in-close at the 8:50 mark of the first to make it a two-goal lead and Huberdeau bagged the Cats fourth after a takeaway by Duclair 6:03 into second to chase Dallas starter Jake Oettinger.
Florida’s second “consecutive numbers” line racked up a gaudy total of eleven points on five goals and six assists and went a combined +16!
Gustav Forsling opened the scoring 3;07 with a tap in goal, his first of the season, from Bennett and Huberdeau. The other Panthers goal came off the stick of Carter Verhaeghe, with the helpers going to Aleksander Barkov and Montour, 5:33 into the middle frame.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 30 shots to earn his 18th win. The only goal he yielded (just barely) was to Roope Hintz, assist to Esa Lindell, early in the final stanza.
Jake Oettinger allowed four goals on 17 shots. The Panthers solved reliever Anton Khudobin three times on 22 shots.
After their latest home ice romp, the Cats top the NHL in points (55 - tied with Tampa Bay) and points percentage. Up next is the second segment of a back-to-back against the rested Columbus Blue Jackets, who are coming off an impressive 6-0 smoking of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Giants & Dwarfs
- Jonathan Huberdeau’s third four-point or more performance of the season pushed him past the 50-point plateau. Huberdeau leads the Panthers in scoring with 51 points and the NHL in assists with 37. Only Pavel Bure (34 games in 1999-2000) hit 50 points faster in franchise history.
- It was the second hat trick of the season and third overall for Sam Bennett, who scored three times in a 5-1 win against the New York Islanders on October 16. The four points was a season-high.
- The Panthers ended a pair of Stars scoring streaks, as Jason Robertson (eight games) and Joe Pavelski (seven games) were both held off the score sheet.
- Patric Hornqvist returned after missing two games in covid protocol and registered a game-high seven shots on goal.
- After avenging the 6-5 shootout loss to Dallas in a big way, the Cats will be looking for some help tonight, as the Stars will pay a visit to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- For more on the final regular season meeting between the two teams, head on over to Defending Big D.