Patric Hornqvist scored two goals and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 47 shots as the Florida Panthers posted a convincing 6-2 over the Calgary Flames at FLA Live Arena, the fourth straight win for the surging club.
Hornqvist opened the scoring at 5:58 after the took a pass down low from Jonathan Huberdeau, had his centering feed blocked, and then deposited the loose puck behind former Panther goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Aaron Ekblad picked up the secondary assist on the power-play goal.
A breakaway goal by Johnny Gaudreau, who split his way between Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar, at 7:03 and another from in tight by Blake Coleman 3:01 later would put the sizzling Flames on top.
It didn’t take long for the Cats to draw even, as Anthony Duclair tipped Gustav Forsling shot from the high slot by Markstrom after the defenseman took a pass from partner Brandon Montour at the 13:01 mark.
Florida’s power play clicked again to produce to the go-ahead goal with a 1:09 left in a busy frame. A screening Joe Thornton got the marker when he deflected Montour’s long wrister from the blue line. The secondary assist on Jumbo Joe’s fourth of the season went to Carter Verhaeghe.
The Panthers barraged Markstrom with 21 shots in the second period, but they didn’t break through for a much-needed insurance goal until the last one, at 19:43, when Ryan Lomberg settled down a long, bouncing pass from Montour, and then worked a give-and-go with Eetu Luostarinen before finishing with a low shot to do in his old team.
Hornqvist notched his second of the night unassisted 5:57 into when he collected a turnover near the blue line and moved in on Markstrom before beating him stick-side from the middle of the right circle.
A falling Lucas Carlsson completed the scoring with shot from the top of the left circle at 13:04 with the assists going to Verhaeghe and rookie Anton Lundell.
Not to be lost in the six goals racked up by his teammates was a stellar performance from Bobrovsky, who stopped all 35 shots faced over the final forty minutes in one of his best performances as a Panther.
The Cats finished the post-holiday break homestand a perfect 4-0, outscoring the New York, Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens and Flames by a combined 24-10. Florida is a perfect 19-0-0 this season when they score at least four goals. The red-hot Panthers will embark on a brief two-game road trip that sees stops in Dallas on Thursday and Raleigh on Saturday.
Tinder & Ash
- Florida is an incredible 18-3-0 at home this season, scoring at least five goals in 12 of the 21 games. The Cats are now second in the NHL in points (48) and point percentage (.727).
- Speedster Johnny Gaudreau’s tally extended his road point streak to 11 games for the Flames, who entered the game with the league’s best road record.
- The Panthers went 2-for-3 with the man-advantage and have scored power-plays goals in three consecutive games.
- Bit of a strange night for Aleksander Barkov. Barkov led the team with seven shots, and had three blocks, but didn’t collect a point and was the only Panther to go -2.
- Flames players with assists were Matthew Tkachuk, Oliver Kylington, Mikael Backlund and Nikita Zadorov. Jacob Markstrom finished the tilt with 45 saves. Blake Coleman registered a whopping, game-high 12 shots.
- For more on this shot-filled affair, visit our friends at Matchsticks and Gasoline.