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5 Takeaways: Trocheck's Hat Trick Powers Panthers Past Oilers

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

Vincent Trocheck scored three goals in the third period to help lift the Florida Panthers to a thrilling 7-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night at Rogers Place.

"We're one of the better teams in the league in shot attempts and shots on net, but, again, we're a team that has to get better in burying our chances and shooting percentage," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said.

"Tonight, hopefully that's the start of something. It was nice to see it get spread around a little bit. We've still got to find different ways to win and I was happy about the way we won at the end of the game tonight."

Florida took advantage of Edmonton's 31st-ranked penalty kill throughout the game, capitalizing on three of its four opportunities with the extra attacker. The Oilers have allowed a league-high 38 goals on the power play this season.

Trocheck scored back-to-back power play goals just 5:47 apart to start the final frame, reaching the 20th-goal mark for the third consecutive season. With time winding down in regulation, the 24-year-old center cashed in on an empty netter to secure the first hat trick of his career.

"I didn't know it was his first hat trick," said Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, who assisted on both of Trocheck's power-play goals. "It's a huge moment for us and a huge win for our team."

Video: FLA@EDM: Trocheck records first career Hat Trick

Evgenii Dadonov scored the game-winning goal for the Panthers, burying a penalty shot at 10:46 of the third period. Florida's seven-goal outburst is the team's second-best offensive showing of the season, just behind an 8-3 win against Anaheim on Oct. 26.

"It's probably fun for watching," Dadonov said of the game. "Fun to watch."

The Panthers (24-23-6) have won five of their last six games. "We're going in the right direction right now," Trocheck said. "We definitely wanted to make sure we came back on this road trip and went on a little bit of a roll right now going into the playoffs. We're going to need to make a push. We're going to need to win a lot of games. This is a good start."

Here are five takeaways from Monday's win in Edmonton…

1. EKBLAD ON FIRE

Aaron Ekblad's beard is in danger of burning off - he's on fire. The 22-year-old opened the scoring on Monday night, collecting a carom off the boards and firing a one-timer off Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom and in, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead on the power play at 17:46 of the first period. Ekblad has scored three goals over his last four games and now ranks second in the league in goals by a defenseman with 12. Since Jan. 9, Ekblad is tied with Nashville's P.K. Subban for the most goals by a defenseman (6). In the midst of his fourth season in Florida, Ekblad leads the club's defensemen in goals (12) and shots (143), while also sitting second in points (22) and total ice time (1253:38). 

Video: FLA@EDM: Ekblad buries PPG from a sharp angle

2. THE POWER PLAY … PLAY

If Ekblad's power play goal looked familiar, it's probably because you've seen it before. The Panthers scored an identical goal on Friday against Los Angeles (see video below) and ran the same play - albeit with a different result - on Feb. 6 against Vancouver. So how does this new set play work? Well, it begins with Mike Matheson dropping the puck off to Denis Malgin near the top of the right circle. At that point, Jamie McGinn is already stationed in front of the net and Ekblad begins to creep in from the blue line on the left side. In the game against the Canucks, Malgin opted to send a shot straight to the net, where McGinn scored on a rebound. In the last two games, however, he's gone with a pass off the boards to Ekblad. So far, the results have been spectacular, as Florida has scored seven power play goals over its last four games, with five of them coming from the Ekblad-led second unit.

Video: LAK@FLA: Ekblad flips wrister over Quick for PPG

3. MALGIN MAKES IT LOOK EASY

Malgin has turned into quite the goal scorer for the Panthers. The pint-sized forward scored his ninth goal of the season on Monday night, taking a smooth pass from Matheson and beating Cam Talbot with a shot from the slot to tie the game at 2 at 6:21 of the second period. Since Boughner shuffled the top-six on Jan. 25, no player has benefited more in the goal-scoring department than the 21-year-old Malgin, who paces the Panthers with four goals in seven games since being placed on the second line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Trocheck. Malgin, who has tallied six points (4-2-6) over his last seven games, has already set new career highs in goals (9), assists (6) and points (15) in 33 games during his second season with the Panthers. 

Video: FLA@EDM: Malgin buries a shot from the slot

4. GIVING 100% IN YOUR 100TH

Evgenii Dadonov showed off his wheels on Monday night, streaking down the ice on a rush before ripping a wrist shot past Talbot's glove to make it a 3-3 game at 9:58 of the second period. A beautiful goal, but Dadonov wasn't done. Playing in his 100th NHL game, the 28-year-old winger made sure to end his evening with an exclamation point, potting a penalty shot for what proved to be the eventual game-winning goal. Whatever I did, that's what I tried to do," Dadonov said of his shot. The penalty shot goal was the first of Dadonov's career and Florida's first since Nov. 14, 2015 at Tampa Bay. After snapping out of a 19-game goal drought in early-January, Dadonov has tallied nine points (6-3-9) over his last 11 games. In his first season with the Panthers, Dadonov currently ranks fourth on the team in goals (13) and fifth in points (33). 

Video: FLA@EDM: Dadonov beats Talbot on penalty shot

5. REIMER RETURNS

James Reimer got all the goal support he needed in his return to Florida's net. Reimer, who hadn't started since suffering a groin injury in Dallas on Jan. 23, stopped 27 of 32 shots to earn his first victory since Jan. 19. "When you first came back after being out for a while there's a bit of rust and whatnot, and you're kind of getting adjusted to game-speed," Reimer said. "But, you know, I battled through the game. I thought I made a couple saves in some tough situations. I'm happy overall with how I played. It's just a good building game." With Roberto Luongo still not cleared to play -- although he could potentially return at some point on this road trip -- Reimer will likely once again be competing with Harri Sateri for a spot in between the pipes when the Panthers visit Vancouver on Wednesday. 

Video: FLA@EDM: Reimer stops Draisaitl with sweet glove save

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