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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.

Have a question for Alain? Be sure to ask him through twitter @apoupartFins.


Like They Never Left

Panthers forwards Sean Bergenheim and Jesse Winchester have enjoyed solid comebacks after a year away from the NHL.

Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 5:00 PM / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Like They Never Left
Panthers forwards Sean Bergenheim and Jesse Winchester have enjoyed solid comebacks after a year away from the NHL.
Forward Sean Bergenheim celebrates a goal at BB&T Center against the Nashville Predators (Getty Images).

After scoring the game-winning goal against the Dallas Stars on Sunday with a nifty backhand redirect of a pass from defenseman Colby Robak, Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim reflected on his comeback season.

In essence, Bergenheim said it was nice to prove he still could be an effective player in the National Hockey League after missing all of the 2013 season. While he hasn’t expressed those thoughts to the media himself, Jesse Winchester could say the same thing. Like Bergenheim, he was out of the National Hockey League last season and has bounced back this season with a strong performance.

When it comes to Winchester, his contributions are more subtle, playing soundly in all three zones. Winchester sure has made his share of plays in the offensive zone, particularly during a four-game stretch in late January when he had two goals and three assists. Included in that stretch was a three-assist performance in the 5-1 victory at Pittsburgh, no doubt one of the Panthers’ best efforts of the season.

Winchester, signed as a free agent last summer, has been valuable mostly because of his two-way game. No forward on the Panthers roster has spent more time killing penalties this season and Winchester usually is the first forward on the ice in those situations.

As for Bergenheim, he’s second on the team with 16 goals, one shy of his career-high. He scored 17 in 2011-12 in his first season with the Panthers while cementing his reputation as a clutch playoff performer with three goals and three assists in the seven-game series against the New Jersey Devils.

But it’s been a tough road Since then it was a tough road for Bergenheim, one that left everyone wondering when and if he could be a factor again for the Panthers. That’s clearly what he’s done this season, holding a spot on the top line for most of the season.

The Panthers were at their best offensively this season when the trio of Bergenheim, Brad Boyes and Aleksander Barkov really started clicking. Each player brings a unique skill set, and Bergenheim’s forte always has been his relentlessness and willingness to get close to the net.

With so much of the focus, and rightfully so, on the Panthers’ young guns and up-and-coming prospects, it’s easy to overlook the contributions of some of the veterans. But Bergenheim and Winchester clearly were factors this season.

In the process, both players enjoyed a nice comeback to the NHL.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 64 22 16 -9 38
J. Huberdeau 61 9 28 3 37
A. Ekblad 64 11 23 7 34
J. Jokinen 63 6 28 -1 34
B. Boyes 62 11 21 8 32
J. Jagr 60 12 19 -10 31
J. Hayes 55 17 12 -4 29
B. Campbell 64 3 20 2 23
A. Barkov 53 10 12 -5 22
V. Trocheck 34 5 11 8 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .921 2.37
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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