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Hockey Daily Dose

Panthers clawing their way up the standings

by Corey Abbott
Updated On: February 20, 2021, 4:39 pm ET

The Florida Panthers have the second best record in the league (11-2-2) and the top points percentage (.800) in the NHL. The team ranks fourth in the league with 3.60 goals for per game and sixth in power-play percentage (30.2%).

Florida has been led by Jonathan Huberdeau (seven goals, 15 assists) and Aleksander Barkov (six goals, 12 assists). Newcomers Patric Hornqvist (eight goals, seven assists), Carter Verhaeghe (seven goals, six assists), Anthony Duclair (two goals. seven assists) and Alexander Wennberg (four goals, four assists) have been productive additions. Aaron Ekblad (five goals, five assists) and Keith Yandle (two goals, 10 assists) have generated plenty of offense from the back end.

Chris Driedger has provided depth between the pipes, while sharing the crease with Sergei Bobrovsky. Driedger and Bobrovsky have similar records at 6-1-1 and 5-1-1, respectively, but Driedger has the better peripheral numbers of the two so far.

It has been a tremendous start for the Panthers.

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CHICAGO 3 CAROLINA 5

The Hurricanes have four wins in the last five games (4-0-1) following Friday’s victory over Chicago. The two teams were originally scheduled to play again on Saturday, but that contest has been moved to date yet to be determined and instead Carolina will host Tampa Bay on Saturday. That Lightning-Hurricanes match was initially scheduled for March 28.

Nino Niederreiter scored twice on Friday and recorded an assist. His first-period marker and Vincent Trocheck’s second-period tally gave Carolina a 2-0 lead.

Patrick Kane’s eighth marker of the year got the Blackhawks on the board and kicked off a three-point performance for him, as he added two assists.

Kane had a hand in goals by Ian Mitchell and Carl Soderberg, but a big third period from the Hurricanes ended Chicago’s three-game win streak.

Martin Necas, Niederreiter and Jaccob Slavin scored for Carolina in the third period to build a 5-2 lead. Necas also picked up an assist to give him two power-play points in the match.

Slavin also earned an assist along with his first goal of the campaign.

Teuvo Teravainen collected a pair of assists, while Alex DeBrincat, David Kampf, Adam Boqvist, Jesper Fast, Jake Bean and Jake Gardiner registered one helper apiece.

Kevin Lankinen stopped 33 of 37 shots in the loss, while James Reimer blocked 26 of 29 shots for his eighth win in nine appearances this season.

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FLORIDA 7 DETROIT 2

Florida has won three straight games this week thanks to a blowout victory against Detroit on Friday night. The team’s four-game road trip will continue on Saturday versus the Red Wings.

The Panthers scored four times in the first frame with goals coming from Juho Lammikko, MacKenzie Weegar, Patric Hornqvist and Aleksander Barkov.

Huberdeau earned two assists in the match, while Barkov finished with three points after adding two assists of his own.

Hornqvist potted another goal in the third period during a Florida power play, while Anthony Duclair and Weegar had multi-point performances as well with one goal and one assist each.

Keith Yandle accumulated three helpers in the contest, while Brett Connolly, Alexander Wennberg, Carter Verhaeghe, Anton Stralman and Dylan Larkin posted one assists apiece.

Bobby Ryan and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Red Wings.

Robby Fabbri had the primary assist on both markers for a two-point effort.

Thomas Greiss was pulled after he allowed four goals on 13 shots, while Jonathan Bernier stopped 23 of 26 shots in relief.

Chris Driedger turned aside 30 shots to earn his sixth win in eight starts.

EDMONTON 2 CALGARY 1

The Oilers have won five of the last six games, including the past two following Friday’s victory. Edmonton will be on the road against the Flames on Saturday night.

Jesse Puljujarvi opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season.

Gaetan Haas scored for the first time this year and it held up as the game winner.

Rasmus Andersson had the lone goal of the match for Calgary. He scored shortly after Haas, but the Flames were unable to get the equalizer.

James Neal, Alex Chiasson, Tyson Barrie, Darnell Nurse, Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano contributed one assist apiece.

David Rittich blocked 23 of 25 shots in the defeat.

Mike Smith made 20 saves for his fourth win in five starts.

WINNIPEG 2 VANCOUVER 0

The Jets have alternated wins and losses for most of this month, while going 4-3-0 in their last seven outings.

Laurent Brossoit earned his second career shutout and both have come against his hometown Canucks. The British Columbia native stopped all 29 shots he faced on Friday night.

Mark Scheifele’s ninth goal of the season 7:25 into the first period held up as the game winner

Mason Appleton sealed Winnipeg’s victory with an empty-netter.

Neal Pionk had the lone helper in the contest.

Thatcher Demko stopped 29 of 30 shots in the loss.

Corey Abbott

Corey Abbott is an Editor for Hockey on NBC Sports Edge. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @CoreAbbott.