Jonathan Huberdeau set an NHL record for a left wings with his 71st assist of the season, with the primary helper on Barkov’s second of the night, a one-timer from the right circle, which came with 6:13 remaining in the game and the Cats enjoying a two-man advantage. Sam Reinhart drew the secondary assist on the historic marker, his second helper of the night.
With this assist, Jonathan Huberdeau has become the all-time single-season assists leader amongst left-wingers with 71— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) April 1, 2022
Aleksander Barkov's goal gives the Panthers a 4-0 lead!@FlaPanthers | #TimeToHunt pic.twitter.com/sohp9bTFIJ
After having a goal disallowed 41 seconds into the first, Barkov bulled his way to cage and finished on the backhand to open the scoring with 1:36 left in the frame. Gustav Forsling and Carter Verhaeghe got the assists on the goal, Barkov’s 30th of the season. Verhaeghe’s next point will be his 100th.
Ryan Lomberg sped into the Blackhawks zone and scored yet again, putting a rising shot off the glove of Collin Delia 7:23 into the second to give the Panthers some breathing room not long after Bobrovsky made a big save on Alex DeBrincat at the other end. That’s four goals, and five points, in the last three games for Lomberg, The assists went to Jumbo Joe Thornton and Radko Gudas. Lomberg is now one goal away from double-digits! Who’da thunk it?
Forsling added to the lead 4:23 later when he took a centering pass from Mason Marchment, that ticked off the blade of Reinhart on its way, and fired a wrister that deflected down off the shaft of Dylan’s Strome’ stick and between Delia’s pads. A screening Sam Bennett made contact with Delia, but the goal withstood the review process, giving the Swede his third of the campaign.
Bobrovsky was simply superb during this start, stopping everything he faced to pick up his 33rd win and third shutout in one of his best performances in a Panthers uniform. Despite looking a little rusty in his last two outings, the 33-year-old posted a 7-0 record in March.
Chicago’s Delia was no slouch either, finishing with an even 40 saves to keep the score from getting out of hand. It was just his fourth NHL appearance of the season.
The Panthers earned their fifth consecutive home win for their league-leading 28th victory at FLA Live Arena this season, the most home wins in one season in franchise history. The Cats also lead all NHL teams with 56 points at home, two shy of the franchise mark of 58 set in 1999-00. Florida was able to match wins by Carolina, Toronto and Boston to keep the top spot in the Eastern Conference and stretch its lead in the Atlantic Division to seven points as the Maple Leafs jumped idle Tampa Bay for second place. Up next for the red-hot Cats is a Saturday matinee against the New Jersey Devils.
Bows & Arrows
- Aleksander Barkov’s brace boosted his total to 31, giving him a second season with at least 30 goals scored. His second of the night was his 10th power-play goal, tying him with Samson Reinhart for the team lead. Barkov won 12 of his 15 faceoffs during the game.
- Jonathan Huberdeau record-setting assist extended his point streak to six games. He has racked up four goals and ten points during that span.
- Radko Gudas was just a stats machine last night. The Butcher had an assist, three shots, two blocks and tied Robert Hagg with a game-high six hits. including a beautiful hip check that sent Kirby Dach flying arse over elbows.
- Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews played in his 1,000th NHL game. He became the eighth Chicago player and the 336th NHL player to hit the milestone. Toews registered four shots on goal in 16:38 TOI.
- Mason Marchment and Patrick Kane each finished with a game-high seven shots on goal. Marchment’s assist game him a modest two-game point streak.
- You can read more about Florida’s second win over Chicago at Second City Hockey.