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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Jets 1

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 2 1 0 4
Jets 0 1 0 0 1
FLA - T. Kopecky (9), S. Matthias (5), PS - J. Huberdeau (11), M. Santorelli (1)
WPG - K. Wellwood (1)

SUNRISE, Fla — The Florida Panthers were in dire need of some good news Tuesday, and two of their brightest prospects helped deliver it.

Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau scored on a penalty shot, goalie of the future Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves and the Panthers beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 at the BB&T Center.

"We worked our tails off tonight. Every single guy in this lineup worked as hard as they could and it showed pretty much the whole game. We worked the corners and battled for pucks and that’s how we’re going to be successful here. It felt good winning and we have to keep this going now."

- Panthers forward Shawn Matthias.
1. A Team Start: Attempting to thwart a three game losing streak, the Panthers clamped down on the defense in the opening two periods and they got the all-important lead. The defense, led by netminder Jacob Markstrom, was huge as they limited the Jets to just 13 shots through 40 minutes of play. Eight of them came in the opening period. With so many young players in the lineup due to injuries, it was the veterans that go the Panthers on the board and it came just 5:07 into the game. Set up by Tomas Fleischmann and Marcel Goc (first assist), Tomas Kopecky raced into the zone and fired a shot top shelf on Ondrej Pavelec for his ninth of the season. The goal, along with the defense got the crowd into it and the Panthers mojo working.

2. Danger And Huby Magic: In the second period, it was more of the same as the Cats held a 9-5 shot advantage. After Kyle Wellwood beat Markstrom for the only blemish of the goaltender's game, the Panthers turned up the pressure. Kopecky had a golden chance to retake the lead on a spinning backhand but it went off the post. He also rang one off the pipe a little later. On the same shift, Shawn Matthias would not be denied as he took the puck in his own zone, raced up the ice, went inside out on a Jets defender for a Sportscenter Top Play as he fired it top shelf on Pavelec for what would be the game winner. The magic continued about five minutes later as super rookie Jonathan Hubereau was taken down on a rush. Given his second penalty shot of the season, he made good on it just like the first but with a different approach. Instead of using his move, he skated in and fired it quickly for the 3-1 advantage with 5:05 to play in the second.

3. Closing Out Strong: Holding a 3-1 lead, the Panthers continued early pressure in the third as Mike Santorelli deked his way around Pavelec and tucked the puck into the back of the net 3:43 into the third. From there, it was just weathering the Jets storm as they picked up their pressure and posted 18 shots (a season high allowed for a period) on Markstrom. The defense and Markstrom came up strong in turning aside every single shot. The victory is definitely a big boost in the way all four lines and all six defensemen along with the netminder played and closed out the game. It was an entire team effort and hopefully one that continues as the Cats look to get back into it.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@JessilynMorales: Stay up and watch the replay of the @FlaPanthers game? I think so. #FeelsGoodToWin

@BethDymek: @j_markstrom @FlaPanthers you were AWESOME tonight!!!

@FlaBoi6: @FlaPanthers win!!!!! Great disciplined game tonight!!! @LindsayBHockey

@IMMABANDITO: Great 4-1 divisional win for the @FlaPanthers. @JonnyHuby11 is 2 for 2 in penalty shots! Great beauty of a goal for @ShawnMatthias! #gocats

@AntNagen: @FlaPanthers with the much needed win! @JonnyHuby11 with the finish on the penalty shot!!

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Teemu Jussila: Awesome game Cats!! Keep going!

Sebastian Lovas: Looks like Markström was a boss! Great win, looked like a great effort too. Only managed to see the last period. Hopefully we can get a winning-streak going!

Kevin Doyle: Watching Huberdeau, Shore and Mueller play together makes a fifty five year hockey fan (and ex-hockey player) hopeful for the future of the Panthers. Markstrom is icing on the cake.

Matthew Evan: Matthias goes full speed all the time, and kopecky banging the glass post goal is awesome. Glad to see some heart out there despite a rocky first half of the season.

Carol Campbell: Outstanding team effort tonight!!!.

0. The Panthers played a great disciplined game as they weren't called for one penalty. It was the first time this season and the fifth time in franchie history that they accomplished that feat, the last coming on Jan. 10, 2010 in Vancouver.

1. A couple of firsts as forward Jon Rheault made his NHL debut (becoming the fifth Panther to do so this season) while defenseman Colby Robak picked up his first NHL point, assisting on Shawn Matthias' game-winner.

2. It's never been done in franchise history and only one other time by a NHL rookie dating back to the 1980s but Jonathan Huberdeau recorded his second penalty shot goal of the season (also against Philadelphia). The only other rookie to score on two shots in a single season was Columbus' David Vyborny during the 2000-01 season for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

9. The Panthers had 10 points (goals and assists) on the night and nine different skaters recorded them. The only one to hit the score sheet twice was forward Tomas Fleischmann.

100. Defenseman Tyson Strachan played in his 100th career NHL game and played in a career high 24:26 against the Jets. It's his fourth straight game of 20+ minutes after not hitting the mark in his first 96 games.

Jacob Markstrom
Wasn't tested much through the first two periods (13 shots) but came up huge with 18 saves in the third period to give the Panthers confidence of closing out a game.

31 Shots, 30 Saves, .968 SV%
The Panthers hit the road for one as they head up to Washington D.C. to take on the Capitals in another Southeast Division battle. The Capitals have taken the first two games in the four game season series, shutting out the Panthers 5-0 on Feb. 9 and earning a come-from-behind 6-5 overtime victory on Feb. 12. In the latest meeting, the Panthers had a 5-3 lead after Drew Shore netted his first NHL goal early in the third period only to see Eric Fehr score with six minutes left, Alex Ovechkin tie it with a power play goal with less than two minutes to play and Troy Brouwer win it with 32 seconds gone in the five minute session. Washington is coming off a X-X loss to the NY Rangers on Tuesday night.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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