SUNRISE, FL–For the second game in the row Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad struck Lightning with a critical goal in the last minute of a game, scoring with 20.2 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Panthers a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay Monday night at BB&T Center.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr notched assists on the play after charging across the blue line and Huberdeau found Ekblad at the point, scoring on a deflection through traffic. The TV call from the Panthers credited Nick Bjugstad with the goal but the official scoring lists Ekblad. It’s becoming a habit for the NHL’s 2014-15 rookie of the year. Ekblad scored a power play goal with 38 seconds remaining Saturday night to send that game at Tampa into overtime, an eventual 5-4 shootout win by the Panthers.
The Atlantic Division matchup featured the return of Alexsander Barkov from a broken hand, as well as the confidence and form of goalie Roberto Luongo, who stopped 39 shots in posting his 69th career shutout. The Panthers were limited to 19 shots but Barkov infused speed and guile into the lineup, which seemed to trickle throughout the roster as the Lightning worked fruitlessly to avoid their fourth shutout of the season. Barkov played with his usual linemates Jagr and Huberdeau who dominated the first two minutes of the game with an extended shift in the Lightning’s zone. Barkov also put in time on the penalty killing unit to play 20:52, tops among Panther forwards.
Highlights of the game courtesy of nhl.com:
The Panthers (8-7-3) gained three positions to fourth in the standings and their 19 points ties them with Detroit and Tampa Bay. Florida has won three of their last four games after a winless trip (0-2-1) to the West Coast earlier in the month.
#CHASINGGORDIE: The assist on the winning tally was Jagr’s seventh of the season, to go with seven goals and reestablishing him as the Panthers leading scorer with 14 points. It was career assist 1087 and career point 1816, a step closer to Gordie Howe’s career mark of 1850 points, third all-time. The Jagr-O-Meter exists because NO ONE in the NHL can be expected to reach these milestones in the next 20 years.
Later this week: Thursday Florida plays Anaheim and Saturday New York Rangers visit the BB&T Center. Invite a friend or two and see the Panthers and the legend soon. Seats for these and all Panthers games are available at http://www.floridapanthers.com.
Assorted Jagr-related links:
Florida Panthers 2015-16 Media Guide
Florida Panthers Team website: http://www.floridapanthers.com
Some Jagr-related social media accounts:
@68Jagr This is the real site, the one and only official Jaromir Jagr twitter account. Postings are rare.
The two best Jagr facebook pages are: https://www.facebook.com/68Jagr/ This is the page Jagr posts on, if he is going to post at all.
Another good facebook page is one produced by someone in the Czech Republic. It has more than 100,000 likes. This is not the official page, but it is very good.
@FlaPanthers and @FLAPanthersPR The official twitter accounts for news about the team.
@dougielarge Doug Cifu, few owners in sports relate to the fans as much as this man who interacts with fans and media on twitter.
@goldieonice — Steve Goldstein, TV play-by-play of the Panthers. Brings all those exciting highlights to life.
@DenisPotvinFox — NHL Hall of Famer Denis Potvin works along side Goldstein in the booth.
@HeyRedDeer color man Randy Moller who left the radio booth to help Goldstein and Potvin on TV.
@GeorgeRichards Panthers beat writer for the Miami Herald.
@HFialkov Panthers beat writer for the Sun Sentinel
@AntwanStaley Includes Panthers coverage in his all sports all the time reports
@Cats0ntheprowl twitter for Cats On the Prowl, offering detailed reviews of Panthers games and more.
@SunshineSkate twitter for The Sunshine Skate, another blog with special emphasis on advanced stats and charts that will make you dizzy.
@Zdenek_Janda US-based Czech reporter who covers the NHL and reports on other news for the people of the Czech Republic.
@Jsmidcro Jan Smid was a US-based Czech reporter who collaborated on “Jagr”, an autobiography in the late 90’s detailing Jagr’s early life and career in the NHL.
@NHLHistoryGirl This hockey loving woman shares interesting informational tidbits about hockey and the NHL in general. How does she do it?
@MyRegularFace She’s another gem. Watches lots of games and gets up GIFs faster than nhl.com or anyone else out there.
Quant Hockey: Career stats updated game by game by a hockey lover in Europe. Site enables you to find career leaders in any offensive category by clicking on the category you are researching.
@rytiriKladno The Kladno Hockey Club: Before coming to the NHL Jagr played for this team in the Czech league as a teenager. Now he owns the team. It’s in Czech but some devices can translate to English. Follow them at:
@HockeyCzech National organization for hockey in the Czech Republic.
@68isgr8 is the twitter for The Traveling Jagrs. Clad in different Jagr jerseys and hair styles from 68’s career, they gained league-wide recognition when they caught Jagr’s attention during a pre-game skate of a Dallas Stars game in Canada during the 2012-2013 season. Since then, they convene at games in Western Canada and make a road trip or two every year, playing street hockey with locals, posing for hundreds of pictures, and having a good time with fans while honoring an all-time NHL legend.
Ray Haluska aka Kladno Jagr, curator of the Jagr-O-Meter