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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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