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Malgin's hat trick leads Panthers to victory

Cats win their second of the Tournament In Coral Springs

by Jameson Olive @JamesonCoop / http://www.floridapanthers.com

19-year-old Malgin scored three goals to help lift the Panthers to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in front of another capacity crowd at the Panthers IceDen on Sunday night, improving Florida's overall record in the annual rookie tournament to a perfect 2-0.

 

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - It's Denis Malgin 's world, we're just living in it.

The 19-year-old center scored three goals to help lift the Panthers to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in front of another capacity crowd at the Panthers IceDen on Sunday night, improving Florida's overall record in the annual rookie tournament to a perfect 2-0.

"I knew he had a lot of skill, but I didn't know that he had a 200-foot game," Springfield Thunderbirds head coach Geordie Kinnear said. "Really, that's what it's about for me. He played a 200-foot game and his compete was off the charts. It's a good two games for him."

Washington took an early lead in the contest, as center Trevor Boyd utilized a nifty spin move just outside the crease to sneak the puck past goaltender Colin Stevens , putting the Capitals up 1-0 at 3:49 of the first period.

It didn't take long for the Panthers to answer, however, as forward Kyle Rau was able to cash in on a rebound just 24 seconds later to make it 1-1 at 4:13 of the opening frame.

From there, it was all Malgin.

Malgin's first score came when he carried the puck up the ice on a 2-on-1 break with forward Anthony Greco, roofing it over the shoulder of goaltender Vitek Vanecek to give Florida a 2-1 lead at 11:58 of the first period.

"It's the second game. It's my first two games after a few months," said Malgin, a fourth round pick of the Panthers in the 2015 NHL Draft. "The rink (in North America) is smaller, but I'm getting better, better and better every day."

In the second, Capitals center Zach Sanford made it 2-2 on a shorthanded goal at 6:49 of the period, firing the puck past Stevens for what would prove to be Washington's final score of the evening.

Stevens, 23, stopped 34 of 36 shots in his second appearance of the tournament.

"It feels good," Stevens said of his performance. "I think, given that this group just kind of got together recently and haven't got much practice time, we're pretty happy with our performance so far. We've got another job to do on Tuesday."

In the third, Malgin completed his hat trick with a pair of goals, the first coming on the power play off a wrist shot from the left circle and the second on a deflection from the point, which increased Florida's lead to 4-2 at 6:08 of the period.

Juho Lammikko added an empty net goal to make it 5-2 in the final minute of regulation.

"It's been nice, but it's a team effort," said Malgin, who has a tournament-leading five goals in two games. "I think I've had a little bit of luck, but that's hockey."

The Panthers will look to stay perfect in their final game of the tournament on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Panthers IceDen.

QUOTES

"If I step out of my play to try and get noticed, that's going to hinder my chances. I think I've just got to keep playing my game. If I go unnoticed out there, it's almost a compliment for me because I'm that defensive defenseman. If I'm not making any mistakes, that's good for me. Anything offensive is just a plus for me. I don't think I'm ever going to be asked the rest of my career to go out and score a goal and produce points. Anything of that nature is just a bonus for me. I just need to play good defense and move the puck up to our skilled forwards."

- Panthers defenseman Eddie Wittchow when asked what he needs to do to stand out at this week's camp.

"We haven't had much time to get on the ice as a group and practice, so just the little things. Communication, whether it's between the goalies and the defense or the defense and the forwards, everything goes smoother when guys are communicating with each other. Like I said, just the little things."

- Panthers goaltender Colin Stevens when asked what the Panthers need to work on before their final game of the tournament on Tuesday.

GAME 2 LINEUP vs. WASHINGTON

Kyle Rau - Denis Malgin - Jayce Hawyruluk

Rihards Bukarts - Juho Lammikko - Connor Brickley

Dryden Hunt - Jonathan Ang - Adam Mascherin

Anthony Greco - Tyson Baillie - Zac Lynch

Michael Downing - Thomas Schemitsch

Eddie Wittchow - Linus Hultstrom

Ian McCoshen - Spencer Abraham

Starter: Colin Stevens // Backup: Samuel Montembeault

Scratches: Michael Matheson (D), Riley Stillman (D), Josh Brown (D)

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