Welcome back to another exciting edition of Plagens' Points.
The Panthers passed every test imaginable over the last three games, knocking off both teams that participated in last year’s Stanley Cup Final by a combined 9-2 score, and then topping Toronto 5-1. Chicago, Friday’s opponent, had won 12 of 13 games after having a 12-game win streak snapped a night earlier. The Panthers blanked the Blackhawks 4-0.
Entering Saturday with a seven-game win streak, Tampa Bay was a win away from tying a franchise record win streak before they collided with the Panthers and fell 5-2. Last night, the Panthers scored five unanswered goals on their way to a 5-1 win over Toronto.
With the Panthers riding a lot of momentum, there are several important things to talk about. They’re listed below, under the heading.
5 OR 6 IMPORTANT HOCKEY THINGS
- It was announced yesterday that Aleksander Barkov is signed for the next six years. This is great news for the Panthers future. Barkov’s all-around, two-way game is already top-ten in the National Hockey League. I had a chance to chat with Barkov after the announcement of his new contract, and when I asked him what it means to be a Florida Panther, he said “It’s a big honor for me. It’s like a dream come true for me to be able to come here every morning and work hard.”
- Over the weekend, the Panthers were the first team to knock off each of the previous Stanley Cup finalists on consecutive nights since the Calgary Flames knocked off Boston and Edmonton on October 20th and 21st, 1990.
- In Saturday’s second period against Tampa Bay, the Panthers scored four goals in a period for the second time this season. The other such instance: the opening period of the season against Philadelphia on October 10th. That nugget of statistical data is courtesy of the folks over at Sportsnet Stats on Twitter, also known in handle form as @SNStats.
- Roberto Luongo, who backstopped the Panthers to victory in net Friday, Saturday, and last night now has 22 wins on the season. Per the folks over at the Elias Sports Bureau, Luongo’s current eight-game home win streak is the longest in Panthers history. Luongo, with 423 career victories in net, is tied with Tony Esposito for seventh on the NHL’s all-time wins list. One last thing, to reference a previous exciting edition of Plagens’ Points, Luongo is 19-7-0 in his career against Toronto after last night’s win.
- The Panthers are 20-0-1 when scoring at least three goals, which also speaks volumes about the consistency of Luongo and Al Montoya in net this season.
- Jonathan Huberdeau has been on an offensive tear, and now leads the Panthers in points. Over his last 21 games, he has 19 points on five goals and 14 assists, and is +7 over that span.
- Erik Gudbranson leads the Panthers with 123 hits, but his textbook hit on Chicago’s Teuvo Teravainen on Friday is the leader in the clubhouse for the Panthers hit of the season.
- Let’s get a round of applause for our great Panthers radio affiliate down in the Florida Keys, WAVK-FM 97.7 The Wave! They’re hosting me, Billy Lindsay, Randy Moller, and several others from the Panthers this weekend as we will be spreading the Panthers message as far south as the Continental United States reaches.
- I think I’m going to see my first show at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale this week. I haven’t seen The Expendables since seeing them twice on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour, and they’re going to be here, so why not?
- Tweet the broadcast (@DougPlagens)! Your Tweet could be read on the air, or mentioned in this bi-weekly literary work! It could also be read on the weekly Panthers Insider Show, which I host with my friend and yours Alex Donno on the Panthers radio flagship, Miami Sports Radio 560 WQAM each Saturday from 9:00 to 10:00 AM!
That’ll do it from here. ‘Til next time, folks!