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By the Numbers: Panthers 2019-20 Regular Season

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

It's time to close the book on the 2019-20 regular season.

With "Phase 2" of the NHL's return-to-play plan kicking off this week, the Florida Panthers have begun flocking back to the ice in preparation for the upcoming 24-team postseason tournament.

By virtue of their 35-26-8 record, Florida will enter the postseason (which will be played at two hub cities without fans) as the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. In a rematch from 2016, they will battle the seventh-seeded New York Islanders in the Qualifying Round of the playoffs.

But before we look ahead to that series, let's first take one last look back at how they got there.

With 69 games played before the NHL paused its season on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, here are some interesting numbers from the Panthers' regular season that stood out.

2: The number of four-goal comebacks the Panthers had this season. Less than two weeks after erasing a 4-0 deficit in the third period to beat Boston 5-4 in a shootout on Nov. 12, the Panthers once again came back from being down 4-0 to beat Anaheim 5-4 in overtime on Nov. 21. "The Boston [victory] was highly improbable, and this one was the same way," head coach Joel Quenneville said. Making history a little over a month into the season, Florida became the second team in NHL history to win two games when trailing by four goals in the same season. 

Video: ANA@FLA: Ekblad roofs shot to complete rally in OT

3.30: The amount of goals per game the Panthers scored on average. Finishing with the sixth-ranked offense in the league, Florida, which ranked first for long stretches of the season, lit the lamp at least five times in 18 different games, including a season-high eight goals in an 8-4 win over Toronto on Jan. 12. The highest goals-per-game average in franchise history, this season also marked just the third time the team averaged more than three goals per game (2018-19, 1995-96).

4: The number of Panthers that scored hat tricks this season. Matching a franchise record with five total hat tricks, Mike Hoffman, Noel Acciari, Frank Vatrano and Mark Pysyk all achieved the feat. Entering the season with no multi-goal games in his career, Acciari made headlines across the league when he scored consecutive hat tricks on Dec. 16 and Dec. 20, respectively. "It's an awesome feeling," Acciari said of the accomplishment. Joining Hall of Famer Pavel Bure (2000-01), Acciari is one of only two players in franchise history to register back-to-back hat tricks.

5: The number of consecutive 20-goal seasons for Aleksander Barkov. Even without the luxury of a full season, Florida's captain finished with 20 goals. Over the last five seasons, the 24-year-old center has lit the lamp 131 times, placing him first on the Panthers during that span. Of his 20 goals this season, seven came on the power play while the other 13 came at even-strength.

6: The length of Florida's season-long winning streak this season. Flying high heading into the all-star break, the Panthers won six straight games from Jan. 9-21. During that incredibly torrid stretch, their sticks couldn't have been hotter. Picking up wins over Vancouver (5-2), Toronto (8-4), Los Angeles (4-3), Detroit (4-1), Minnesota (5-4) and Chicago (4-3), they netted at least four goals in every contest while simply dismantling their opponents by a combined score of 30-17.

23. The amount of wins Sergei Bobrovsky piled up this season. Despite battling through a few injures and bumps in the road, the 31-year-old goaltender still managed to finish tied for 11th in the league in wins during his first season in Florida. At his best later in the year, Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, went 3-2-1 with a .921 save percentage over his last six starts.

29: Mike Hoffman's team-leading goal total. Pacing the Panthers in goals for the second straight season, Hoffman's 29-goal performance came just one season after he posted a career-high 36 in 2018-19. In addition to ranking tied for first on the team in power-play goals (11), the 30-year-old sniper also finished tied for second on the team in even-strength goals (18). Never afraid to let the rubber rip from anywhere on the ice, he also led the team in total shots on goal (214).

Video: CHI@FLA: Hoffman beats Crawford on breakaway

41: The number of points Aaron Ekblad racked up. Despite the shortened season, Ekblad still managed to set new career-highs in both points (41) and assists (36). Ranking second among Florida's defensemen in scoring, the 24-year-old's most-successful stretch of the season came from Feb. 10-27. In that 10-game span, he posted 10 assists while averaging 23:05 of ice time.

78: Jonathan Huberdeau's team-leading point total. After registering a career-high 92 points in 2018-19, Huberdeau appeared to be on pace to challenge that number this season prior to the pause. Tied for 10th in the league in scoring, the 27-year-old winger also ranked third on the team in goals (23) and first in assists (55). Putting up points in bunches, he also led the team in multi-point performances (21), including four separate games in which he notched four points.

103: The number of shots Noel Acciari blocked. It's possible that no one on the Panthers had a better season than Acciari. Joining the team this past summer on three-year contract, the former Bruins forward went on to set career-highs in goals (20) and points (27), while also leading the team in hits (121) and blocks (103). Additionally, his 103 blocked shots also ranked first among all NHL forwards. As previously mentioned, the 28-year-old also made history when he recorded back-to-back hat tricks in December. "Wherever I'm plugged in, I'm going to play the same game and do what I can do to help out the team and the line," Acciari said. "It's been working out for whatever line I've been on." Discovering his scoring touch in South Florida, he'd scored just 18 career goals in 180 games over his previous four campaigns with Boston from 2015-19.

Video: VAN@FLA: Acciari capitalizes off the turnover

.938: Chris Driedger's save percentage. This might have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. Called up from the AHL in November, the 26-year-old goaltender went on to play an integral role between the pipes for the Panthers. Appearing in 12 games, he recorded a 7-2-1 record, 2.05 goals-against average and .938 save percentage -- the highest save percentage among NHL netminders with at least 10 games played this season. "He's very composed, real patient in the net," head coach Joel Quenneville said of Driedger. "He follows the puck and doesn't get excited. His rebound control is effective. He looks big. He takes care of business. You have to commend him for playing some big games for us at a big time of the year."

437: Jonathan Huberdeau's career point total. In a season filled with milestones, this one stood out among the rest. In posting two to help lead the Panthers to an 8-4 win over Toronto on Jan. 12, the former third-overall pick increased his career point total to 420, breaking a tie with Olli Jokinen (419) for the franchise's all-time scoring record. "I couldn't have asked for better," said Huberdeau, who earned his first trip to the NHL All-Star Game this season. "Overall, the team played really good. It was a big win. We knew we needed it tonight. Obviously, on top of that, to be first in franchise history [for points] is cool. I'm going to try and enjoy that tonight." In addition to that record, Huberdeau also owns the franchise's all-time record for career assists (289).

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