ReCat: Dogs Bit By Barkov
Aleksander Barkov didn't disappoint in his first game back from injury in over two weeks, dropping two goals on the visiting Coyotes.
On Thursday night in Sunrise, the Florida Panthers defeated the Arizona Coyotes, 3-2. Their 77 points in 60 games is equal to their best start ever, the 1995-96 Panthers who went on to claim the Eastern Conference.
Aleksander Barkov, in his first game since February 8th, lit the lamp twice for his 17th and 18th goals of the season.
Vincent Trocheck also scored his 18th marker of the campaign, which puts both players right behind Jaromir Jagr's 20 on the season and Reilly Smith's 19. Brian Campbell, Derek MacKenzie, Nick Bjugstad, Dmitry Kulikov, Jagr and Jussi Jokinen all notched assists in the strong Florida effort. Campbell's assist was the 400th of his career. Barring unforeseen developments, he will pass 1,000 career NHL games just before the end of the regular season.
Shane Doan (23) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (18) earned Arizona's goals, which sandwiched Florida's three, one in each period. Roberto Luongo turned aside 22-of-24 shots for his 26th win of the season, his 168th as a Panther, and the 427th of his career overall. He's now 10 victories shy of sixth-place all-time Jacques Plante. Louis Domingue made 21 saves, keeping the Coyotes within striking distance for most of the game, but there was just too much Barkov.
Check us out in the morning for Todd's full recap. Next up, the Panthers hit the road for a five-game trip, starting with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday at 3PM.