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5 Takeaways: Barkov Sets Single-Season Points Record in 2018-19 Finale

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

4/6/19 Post Game Interviews

4/6/19 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Bob Boughner, Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck and Mike Hoffman

  • 01:50 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - At first, Aleksander Barkov didn't realize he had history on his stick.

Entering the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 break with linemate Evgenii Dadonov to his left, the Florida Panthers captain kept the puck himself, sending a shot past MacKenzie Blackwood for his 95th point of the season to break a tie with Hall of Famer Pavel Bure for the franchise's single-season points record.

"Before I scored, the defenseman laid down and I thought the pass might not go through, so I had to shoot," said Barkov, who finishes with a career-high 35 goals. "It went in and then I realized that it was the milestone goal. It was a really nice moment with the crowd cheering and showing support."

Video: NJD@FLA: Barkov scores to set new Panthers record

Barkov would also go on to add an assist later in the game, cementing the new record at 96 points.

"Of course it means a lot," Barkov said of the milestone. "It's awesome. I want to thank everybody that played with me. Without those guys and without everybody here, it wouldn't be possible."

With the record seemingly out of reach for the majority of the season, Barkov found another level to his game roughly two months ago. Dating back to Feb. 17, no player in the league did more damage on the offensive side of the puck than Barkov, who tallied an NHL-leading 43 points in that torrid 26-game span.

"You don't really think about those accomplishments before the season," said Barkov, whose previous career-high point total was 78, which he set last season. "Maybe like last week it came up in the media and it started being in the back of my head… My teammates set me up. I'm thankful for them."

In the end, Barkov's record-breaking point proved to be the biggest highlight of Florida's 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils in the team's 2018-19 season finale at BB&T Center on Saturday night.

Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Panthers put on a show for fans late in the third period, as Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman each scored within the final four minutes to make it a 3-3 game and force overtime. But just 56 seconds into the extra frame, the Devils potted a power-play goal to win 4-3.

With the loss, the Panthers (36-32-14) finish the season with 86 points.

"I've said it a million times before, it's frustrating that with this team we didn't make the playoffs," Barkov said. "We truly deserve it. I think we should have been in the playoffs, but we just need to fix some little things and we'll be fine… We all know we have a really good team."

Here are five takeaways from Saturday's season finale in Sunrise…

1. AN UNLUCKY FIRST

The Panthers did everything but score in the opening 20 minutes of action.

Despite entering the first intermission in a 1-0 hole, Florida was clearly the better team for the majority of the first period. By the time the buzzer sounded, they held lopsided advantages over the Devils in shot attempts (22-7), shots on goal (12-4) and scoring chances (10-2), according to NaturalStatTrick.com.

"We obviously didn't start very well, but the last three quarters of the period we really took it to them," Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson told FOX Sports Florida's Randy Moller during the first intermission. "That's what we need to do to start the second period."

After allowing the first four shots on goal - including the opening goal at 1:27 - Florida didn't give up an inch for the remainder of the period, outshooting New Jersey 12-0 over a nearly 18-minute span.

2. HUBERDEAU HITS 30

Huberdeau extended both personal and franchise milestones tonight.

With an assist on Barkov's record-breaking goal, the 25-year-old winger picked up his team-leading 62nd helper of the season -- nine more than Viktor Kozlov's previous single-season franchise record of 53.

Additionally, he also recorded the first 30-goal campaign of his career when he buried a shot from near the crease to cut Florida's deficit down to 3-2 at 16:35 of the third period. With Huberdeau (30), Barkov (35) and Hoffman (36), the Panthers boast a trio of 30-goal scorers for the first time in team history.

Video: NJD@FLA: Huberdeau backhands home Dadonov's feed

Entering next season, several career milestones will also be within Huberdeau's reach. With 358 points, he needs just 36 more to tie Stephen Weiss (394) for second place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. If he can manage to accumulate 61 points, however, he will match Olli Jokinen's franchise record of 419.

Huberdeau is also just 15 assists away from tying Weiss for the franchise's all-time assists record of 249.

3. YOUR GOAL LEADER

Hoffman's first season with the Panthers ended in a fitting fashion.

With the goaltender pulled and time running out in regulation, Hoffman collected a backhand pass from Barkov and fired a one-timer (his bread and butter all season long) into the net to tie the game 3-3 with 1:25 left on the clock to complete the team's fervent late comeback and get the game to overtime.

The goal also stood as the 300th point of Hoffman's NHL career.

Video: NJD@FLA: Hoffman ties game with 300th NHL point

"Offensively, it went pretty good," Hoffman said of his season. "But there's a lot more things than that. Not making the playoffs is the biggest disappointment. Coming into the year, that's everyone's goal. There's positive things to look at and negative things, but that's usually how the year goes."

His team-leading and career-best 36th goal of the season, Hoffman's total is tied with Olli Jokinen for the fifth-most goals in a season in franchise history. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks this summer for draft picks, the 29-year-old winger finishes his first campaign in South Florida with a career-high 70 points.

4. MILESTONE MANIA

Game 82 marked the end of several career-best campaigns for the Panthers.

In addition to Barkov (96) and Huberdeau (92), seven other played that suited up in tonight's tilt also finished with new career-high point totals, including Hoffman (70), Dadonov (70), Keith Yandle (62), Frank Vatrano (39), Henrik Borgstrom (18), MacKenzie Weegar (15) and Josh Brown (2).

"We had a lot of good seasons by these players," Barkov said. "A lot of good milestones. That shows that we're a really good team and we can actually win games. We just need to fix some little things and we'll be fine… We all know we have a really good team. Everyone just needs to be a little bit better."

Yandle also finishes as Florida's single-season leader for points by a defenseman (62) and total power-play points (39). Earlier in the season, Aaron Ekblad also became the club's all-time leader in goals by a defenseman, surpassing Robert Svehla's previous record of 61. Ekblad's goal total currently sits at 66.

"I wanted to see Barky get the record. I wanted to see Huby get 30. I wanted to see Hoff get 300. I wanted to see everybody hit as many milestones as they possibly can," Panthers center Vincent Trocheck said. "It's awesome. It says a lot about the team whenever guys have individual achievements like that."

5. THANK YOU

For the final takeaway of the season - the 410th, to be exact - the Panthers want to thank you, the fans.

We are incredibly grateful for all of your support and look forward to seeing you again in 2019-20!

"The fans were loud and energetic," Hoffman said of tonight's atmosphere. "This was a fun game to a part of." In the meantime, please enjoy the below video as a token of our continued appreciation.

Video: Thank You Fans

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