Sunrise, FL – The Florida Panthers have now won eight of their last 12 games. What is it about this time of year that makes something click inside the Cats’ helmets? The guys have been playing very aggressively lately. In fact, they’ve scored the 1st goal in 10 of their last 12 games. Tonight, it was the Montreal Canadiens that fell victim to Florida’s late-season run.
On a night where the Panthers honored the Parkland – Marjory Stoneman Douglas community, the team stepped up, as they always do when their community needs them.
The Panthers almost pulled a typical Florida Panthers move and allowed Montreal to take the game back. After going down 3-1, the Canadiens followed up with a Brendan Gallagher goal late in the 1st period and Max Domi goal early in the 2nd to even up the score. Canadiens fans were feelin’ themselves, but not for long.
Aleksander Barkov has been playing out of his mind. He’s tallied 14 points in his last 18 games, including a shootout goal in Florida’s Valentine’s Day victory over Calgary. Tonight, he scored a hat trick, including one of the more amazing goals I’ve seen since I started covering the team – a fast break, behind the leg, tricking the goalkeeper piece of frozen sweetness. Might as well sell those from an ice cream truck. This was the goal that stopped Canadiens fans from getting too hyped. The Panthers didn’t look back after that.
— NHL (@NHL) February 18, 2019
Captain Barky completed his hat-trick midway through the 3rd period on what seemed to be a pass to Jonathan Huberdeau, but it found the back of the net anyway for the Panthers 5th goal. When asked about the play, Hubey said, “We all know he’s unselfish…”. Huberdeau assisted Frank Vatrano in Florida’s 3rd goal of the game. With under three minutes left to play, Montreal pulled their goalie and Riley Sheahan made them pay. He scored an open-net goal to seal the deal on tonight’s game.
Next up, Florida faces Buffalo, as they try to clinch the season series and continue their unlikely return to the playoffs. Coach Bob Boughner has set a team goal to not lose 10 or more games for the rest of the season if they plan on making the playoffs. They still need to tighten up defensively a bit, but they seem to be making the right adjustments.
- Jonathan Huberdeau became the second player in franchise history to record consecutive seasons with 40 or more assists, joining Olli Jokinen (2005-06 & 2006-07).
- Captain Aleksander Barkov netted his second career hat trick during tonight’s win.
Photo Credit | Eliot J. Schechter