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From The Press Box


From The Press Box is a weekly column written by FloridaPanthers.com and NHL.com writer Alain Poupart. Poupart has been covering the Panthers and the NHL for 20 years.

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On The Offensive

There were several strong performances for the Panthers as they began their post-Olympic schedule

Friday, 02.28.2014 / 2:00 PM ET / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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On The Offensive
Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann skates with the puck against the Washington Capitals at BB&T Center (Getty Images)

The Panthers got back to action Thursday night in a wildly entertaining battle against the Washington Capitals. While the outcome wasn’t what the Panthers or head coach Peter Horachek wanted, there were a number of positive developments for Florida.

Brad Boyes led the Panthers with two goals against Washington, extending his team-leading total to 17 on the season. This wasn’t anything unexpected from Boyes, who continues to display a knack for being at the right place at the right time in the offensive zone.

Boyes and linemate Sean Bergenheim had a new center on Thursday, with Nick Bjugstad taking the place of injured rookie Alexsander Barkov. It’s clearly disappointing that Barkov is having to miss some action because of the injury he sustained in the Winter Olympics, but the so-called “Killer Bee Line” remained productive with Bjugstad in the middle.

Taking Bjugstad’s spot on the line between Jonathan Huberdeau and Scottie Upshall was Drew Shore, who was called up from San Antonio on Monday for a third stint with the Panthers this season. Shore played some good hockey for the Panthers before the Olympic break and continued his strong work when he was sent to San Antonio to stay active during the break.

Shore drew some raves from Horachek in the days leading up to the Washington game and then had himself another effective outing against the Capitals. Shore’s recent progress clearly is good news for a Panthers organization loaded with talented young prospects.

Shore’s goal, his fifth in 18 games for the Panthers this season, came on the power play when he one-timed a pass from Brian Campbell. The shot got through Washington goalie Braden Holtby with Jimmy Hayes parked right in front of the net.

The goal was an immediate reward for Horachek’s decision to put Hayes on the power play. The idea was to get the 6-foot-6 Hayes to become a presence in front of the net and make it difficult for goalies to see the puck. Horachek explained after the morning skate that he doesn’t want his players near or around the goalie on the power play, but rather right on top of them. And that’s exactly what Hayes did.

It also was good to see Tomas Fleischmann end his goal drought with a one-timer off a great feed from Jesse Winchester. It was a long time coming for Fleischmann, and the Panthers can only hope he can get on a roll now.

As for Winchester, he continues to quietly put together a very impressive season. His signing last summer kind of went under the radar, but he has been effective more often than not.

The game against Washington began a hectic post-Olympic break schedule for the Panthers, who will finish the season with 24 games in 45 days. Next up are back-to-back afternoon weekend games against the Blue Jackets and Islanders.

The offensive output against the Capitals was a good way to start the post-Olympic schedule. The Washington game marked the first time all season the Panthers had lost while scoring at least four goals. If they can keep up that kind of offensive production the rest of the way, the Panthers obviously will win more games than they’ll lose.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 48 16 21 12 37
J. Huberdeau 51 10 27 11 37
A. Barkov 41 15 19 13 34
J. Jokinen 51 9 24 12 33
V. Trocheck 51 17 15 4 32
R. Smith 51 16 15 12 31
B. Pirri 47 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 47 10 12 23 22
B. Campbell 51 4 15 17 19
N. Bjugstad 36 9 8 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 4 .930 2.11
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

 
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