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5 Takeaways: Hoffman Ties Bure as Panthers Winning Streak Reaches 5

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

11/13/18 Post Game Interviews

11/13/18 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Bob Boughner, Roberto Luongo, Aaron Ekblad, Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman

  • 01:39 •

PHILADELPHIA - In a battle of streaking Eastern Conference teams, the Florida Panthers came out on top.

With a 2-1 win over the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, the Panthers pushed their winning streak to a season-long five games, while also snapping Philadelphia's winning streak at three and point streak at six.

"I consider it a team win," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "I think we got a little bit of contributions, offensively and defensively, from every line, whether they scored or not. And our special teams were solid tonight again. That's how you've got to win, especially on the road."

After a scoreless first period, the Panthers broke the ice in the second thanks a power play goal from Aaron Ekblad -- Florida's sixth-straight game scoring on the man advantage -- and a long-range snipe from Evgenii Dadonov that gave the team a 2-0 lead heading into the final stanza.

In the third, Roberto Luongo made 17 of his 30 saves on the night to secure the two points.

"It's a good feeling right now being around the locker room," Luongo said. "It's starting to feel a little bit like towards the end of last year, where we're in a bit of a groove, feeling good about our team and confident that no matter what the situation is in the game."

Florida (7-5-3) has outscored its opponents 19-7 over the last five games and will now look to extend its winning streak to six in Columbus on Thursday - the second stop on a six-game trip.

"We like to think of it as a group effort on a nightly basis here," Luongo said.

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday's win in Philadelphia…

1. EK IT OUT

It was only a matter of time.

After posting a career-high 16 goals during the 2017-18 campaign, Ekblad registered his first goal of this season on Tuesday night, whacking a puck that went off Brian Elliott and in on the power play to put the Panthers up 1-0 at 8:15 of the second period.

Video: FLA@PHI: Ekblad nets PPG, Hoffman ties club record

The goal was the 54th of Ekblad's young career, moving the 22-year-old past Jay Bouwmeester for second place on the franchise's all-time scoring list among defensemen. With plenty of time left to play this season, there is a good chance he will also catch Robert Svehla's record of 61.

"You can feel it in this room that we believe that we're going to win the game no matter where we are," Ekblad said after Tuesday's morning skate. "Down one [goal], up four, or even going into the third period, it's our game."

After going 1-for-3 with the man advantage against Philadelphia, the Panthers power play improved to an astounding 7-for-20 (35 percent) during their five-game unbeaten streak.

"It's been huge," Luongo said of Florida's success with the man advantage. "Today it was our second unit, which is great. Both units are contributing. The power play is going to be key."

2. HISTORY FOR HOFFMAN

Mike Hoffman has tied a Hall of Famer.

With an assist on Ekblad's opening goal, the 28-year-old winger extended his point streak to a career-best 13 games, which matches Pavel Bure's franchise record set back in 1999-2000. In addition to making Panthers history, the streak also stands as the longest in the NHL this year.

"It feels good," Hoffman said. "Any time you can help this team win hockey games is what you're looking to do. Those other things are kind of cool to look at and look back at once I'm a little it older… right now, I'm focused on winning hockey games."

Easily one of the biggest offseason pickups in the entire league this season, Hoffman has been a major contributor since joining Florida. In 15 games, the former Senators star ranks first on the team in power play goals (tied-3), while also sitting in second for goals (7) and points (tied-15).

"It's been great," Hoffman said of spending the last five games on Florida's top line. "Obviously the first few games you need to try and find your own groove here and kind of establish myself with a new team. Playing with [Aleksander] Barkov and Dadonov, they're both good players."

Hoffman also leads the Panthers with 52 shots on goal.

3. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Not to be outdone by Hoffman, Dadonov extended a torrid streak of his own.

The 29-year-old winger scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season on Tuesday night, beating Elliott with a long and lethal wrist shot from the top of the right circle to extend Florida's lead to 2-0 at 17:35 of the second period.With the goal, Dadonov's point streak his 12 games.

Video: FLA@PHI: Dadonov snaps one home to extend streak

"It was end of the shift, so I didn't have enough energy," Dadonov said of his goal. "I just tried to put [the puck] back through and make sure it didn't hit the [defense], and it went in… it's kind of the point, for me, a bonus."

With Hoffman and Dadonov each picking up another point, the Panthers now have two players riding streaks of 12 or more games not only for the first time in franchise history, but also for the first time in the NHL since Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin reached 13 concurrently in 2007.

"It's a hockey game," Dadonov said when asked about Florida's confidence. "Every night is a new game. Right now, this is the first game on the road for us, so it's good to get started with a win."

Dating back to last season, Dadonov leads the Panthers with 26 goals over the last 50 games

4. LUONGO STAYS PERFECT

This Luongo guys is pretty good, eh?

With a 30-save performance against the Flyers, the 39-year-old goaltender improved to a 4-0-0 on the season. After facing just 14 shots on goal through the first 40 minutes of action, Luongo turned on the heroics in the third, as the future Hall of Famer made 17 saves in the final frame.

The only blemish on his nearly-flawless night? A Jakub Voracek goal at 3:55 of the third period.

"We knew they were going to have a push," said Luongo, who faced six high-danger scoring chances in the third period. "They're a good team and they're on home ice. They got one, but we were able to hold the fort there in the final 10-15 minutes." 

Video: FLA@PHI: Luongo makes multiple saves at the doorstep

Although he missed the majority of the first month of the season after suffering a knee injury in the opener on Oct. 6, Luongo has proven to once again be outstanding when healthy. In five appearances this season, he has turned away 130 of the 136 shots he's faced (.956 percent).

"Amazing," Boughner said of Luongo's performance. "Even at the end, he still made a big save there with a couple seconds to go. We didn't give him a ton of work in the first two periods, but when we needed him he rose to the occasion. He was our best player in the third period."

With nine more wins, Luongo will move into a tie with Ed Belfour for third place on the NHL's all-time wins list among goaltenders at 484.

5. HUBERDEAU REACHES 400

Jonathan Huberdeau skated in his 400th NHL game on Tuesday night, becoming just the 15th player in franchise history to hit that mark. Entering the night with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his last 10 games, he finished with a pair of shots and blocks in Philadelphia. 

Tweet from @FlaPanthersPR: In tonight's matchup vs. PHI, Jonathan Huberdeau competed in his 400th @NHL game. pic.twitter.com/Jwa6hbaqfh

The third-overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Huberdeau has been a steady point producer ever since he entered the league, becoming the first Panther to ever win the Calder Trophy when he posted 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

After posting a career-high 69 points last season, the 25-year-old tallied has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 15 games so far this season.

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