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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Like They Never Left

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

Wednesday, 04.9.2014 / 5:00 PM ET / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Like They Never Left
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 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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