SUNRISE–The last few times a team rallied in a Florida Panthers game it was the opposing team that tied and then won the game. The tide finally came back in for the Florida Panthers as Aleksander Barkov spearheaded a Florida comeback witlh two goals and two assists in the final 27 minutes of the game as the Panthers defeated Montreal 4-3 Saturday night at BB&T Center.
The win enabled Florida to hold a 2-point advantage over Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division as the regular season enters the final week with each team having four games to play between now and Saturday. The Panthers will try to build on their club record 44 wins. In other action Detroit edged Toronto to keep their playoff hopes on a respirator while Boston must win today in Chicago to keep their diminishing hopes alive. One of those two teams will finish third in the Atlantic while the other will likely miss the cut. The Panthers, Lightning and Red Wings are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games while the Bruins are 3-6-1.
Brendan Gallagher staked Montreal to a 1-0 lead 10:14 into the game and for a few moments their lead seemed to have doubled until a challenge by Florida Coach Gerard Gallant overturned an apparent second goal by the Canadiens on an offsides call when the puck entered the zone. .
Even with that setback Montreal seemed destined for a good night as second period goals by David Desharnais and Torrey Mitchell tripled their lead to 3-0 at 11:19. They would never find the net again and would suffer the latest setback in their lost season which held so much promise after the team reeled off nine staight wins to start the season. With the Panthers applying pressure Barkov seemed to have scored from the left circle but replay showed Jaromir Jagr subtly raised his leg in the blue paint to deflect the puck off his lower leg or skate and into the net.
Then a determined Barkov reached with his stick through the legs of Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov in the crease in the final minute of the second. With Jagr and Huberdeau stopped or missing great chances in the final period, Huberdeau tied the game with a power play goal at 12:17 which make the final 7-plus minutes of the game tense until Barkov’s second goal with 29 seconds remaining.
The highlights from NHL.com can be seen here and watching at least the final period in its entirety is worth the time for those with access to the game footage.
The Panthers talked about the game game afterward
The updated Atlantic Division standings.
The Panthers spend their final road trip in Canada with stops Monday in Toronto, Tuesday in Montreal and Thursday in Ottawa. They close out thes regular season Saturday against Carolina at the BB&T Center, Jagr’s goal was the 748th of his career and gave him a team-leading 26 on the campaign and goes into the books as his 62nd point of the season and 1864th of his career. The goal was also Jagr’s 32nd goal and 80th point in 95 games played with the Panthers. Jagr is now 23 points away from tying Mark Messier for second-place all time with 1887 points. Barkov’s game winning goal also give him 26 goals among his 55 points for the season which is impressive production when factoring in 13 games missed due to a broken hand and a concussion.
JAGRometer.com presents the updated JAGR vs. the league chart:
AROUND THE NHL: The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost All-Star left wing Steve Stamkos for 1-3 months to surgically repair a blood clot in one of his arms, the club announced Saturday night after their 2-1 win over New Jersey. Clots, or the potential to clo, are a very serious matter. Aside from the surgery chosen for Stamkos the patient must undergo additional testing to determine the cause of the clot and possibly be on a blood thinner for a period of time (sometimes life). JAGRometer.com wishes a quick recovery to Stamkos, a pending free agent as he goes through surgery and recovery.
As Jagr fans we must all be grateful that Jaromir has escaped health issues and injuries that have cut short the career of so many players.
Reporters spent Friday’s off day talking to members of the Florida Panthers regarding the nomination of Jaromir Jagr for the NHL’s Masterton Trophy, awarded anually to the player who demonstrates dediciation, sportsmanship and perseverence. Local nominees are selected in each NHL city by the area chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. We list NHL.com’s version of the story first, followed by the Miami Herald’s effort.
The Traveling Jagrs had a busy day Saturday and have memories of two exciting Panthers victories as well as one goal and two assists by Jagr to take back to Canada. A mid-afternoon pickup game saw them in acation against some local players followed by a public skate. The usual pre-game and in-game photo sessions followed as well as the victory by the Panthers. Someone in the front office like them and arranged for them to meet Jagr briefly after the game.
Moments like this are rare for any fan and the Travelling Jagrs don’t ask Jagr for time with them when they come to see him play in games in Western Canada and their big road trip to a US city. This was their second trip to Sunrise and hopefully not their last. For more of the Travelling Jagrs trip to Florida visit their twitter page: @68isgr8 and also their facebook page which has more than a dozen photos: