Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice in the first period and added an assist to power the Florida Panthers to an easy 6-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in the first meeting in Sunrise between the two squads since November 14, 2019.
With the brace, Huberdeau became the third Panther to hit the 30-goal mark this season, joining Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair.
Gustav Forsling also notched a pair goals, both in the second period, and Claude Giroux had three assists for the red-hot Cats, who won for a season-high ninth straight time.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves and set a new franchise record with his 36th victory of the campaign. Panthers legend Roberto Luongo won 35 games in 2005-06 and 2015-16.
Mason Marchment scored 46 seconds after Nikolaj Ehlers ended Bobrovsky’s shutout bid 1:08 the third period and Maxim Mamim lit the lamp for the first time since January 11th to complete the scoring on a breakaway.
Samson Reinhart collected two assists and Sam Bennett, Ben Chiarot, Brandon Montour, MacKenzie Weegar and Patric Hornqvist also drew helpers. Weegar suited up in his 300th career NHL game, quite an accomplish for a plyer selected in the seventh round of the draft.
For the Jets, Connor Hellebuyck got the hook after playing the first two periods, departing with 22 saves on 26 shots. His replacement, Eric Comrie stopped 15 of 17 shots in the third period as the Cats kept the pedal to the metal. Paul Statsny and Neal Pionk had the assists on Ehlers’ 26th goal.
After a very impressive win - no slow start or comeback needed in this one as Huberdeau had the Cats up by two after 4:47 - the Panthers magic number for both the top seed in the Eastern Conference and first place in the Atlantic Divison is down to a mere seven points. Florida leads the Carolina Hurricanes by eight points and has a game in hand, and their advantage over the Toronto Maple Leafs is back up to ten points, with both teams having eight games left on the docket. The Cats will embark on a brief two-game road trip that sees stops in Detroit and New York for games against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon and the barely breathing Islanders on Tuesday night.
Pitch & Yaw
- The Panthers earned their ninth consecutive win, the second longest win streak in franchise history behind their monster 12-game winning streak from the 2015-16 season, and also won their ninth straight game at home. Florida joined the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings as the only teams in NHL history with three home winning streaks of nine games or longer in a season.
- It only took Jonathan Huberdeau 2:03 to extend his point streak to 13 games, tying Pavel Bure for the second-longest point streak in franchise history. Huberdeau has piled up a league-leading 67 points (17G/50A) over 38 home games this season, tied for the fourth-most home ice points of any skater since 1996-97.
- In addition to setting the overall goalie wins in a season record, Sergei Bobrovsky’s victory was his 24th win at FLA Live Arena, surpassing Roberto Luongo’s club mark of 23 home ice victories from 2005-06.
- Nikolaj Ehlers’ goal extended his point streak to an NHL career-high eight games, He has put up six goals and 13 points during the streak.
- Claude Giroux’s three helpers were a season-high and he won 12 of his 15 faceoffs (80%). The former Flyer has registered four assists in his last two games and 15 points over his first 12 games with the Panthers.
- Aleksander Barkov had a quiet night and saw his eight-game point streak come to an end. Barkov had two shots on goal, went -1, and won just 23% of the faceoffs he took.
- For more on Florida’s season sweep of the Jets, visit Arctic Ice Hockey.