Barkov goal gives Panthers win against Jets

Alain Poupart  - NHL.com Correspondent | Friday, 03.13.2015 / 2:55 AM

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Jaromir Jagr is making a strong contribution for the Florida Panthers, and linemates Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are thriving since his arrival.

Barkov scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:53 left in the third period, and Huberdeau and Jagr each had two assists when the Panthers defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 at BB&T Center on Thursday.

"They look confident," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said of 21-year-old Huberdeau and 19-year-old Barkov. "Jagr has had a lot to do with that. The last two months, those kids have played really well together. They took another step since Jagr got here in the trade and they feel confident and they're going out every time. I think they have a chance to score every time they go on the ice. That's what's good about those kids right now."

Barkov broke a 2-2 tie when his wrist shot from the high slot went past defenseman Mark Stuart and beat goalie Michael Hutchinson to the glove side.

It was Barkov's second goal since 43-year-old Jagr was acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 26.

"He's a passer first," Jagr said of Barkov. "It doesn't matter what you tell him, he's going to pass first. But he had no other option, nobody was close to him, so he shot it. He has a good shot, so it's good for him."

Derek MacKenzie, Brad Boyes and Nick Bjugstad scored for Florida (30-23-14), which is six points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Boston defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in a shootout Thursday.

Huberdeau's second assist was his 100th NHL point in his 181st game. Florida goalie Dan Ellis, making his third consecutive start with Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya sidelined by injury, made 18 saves.

"It's fun," said Ellis, who was 0-5-0 in six appearances with the Panthers last season after they acquired him in a trade with the Dallas Stars. "This is a fun time of year to play hockey, whether you're backing up or you get a chance to play the games. As a backup or in my position, I haven't had a chance to play many games in March. Usually you've got a guy that's stringing a lot of games together like Luongo or other goalies that I've played with, but it's a fun time of year and our team is dialed in. We've played really strong and tonight was another strong game against a strong team and [it was] good to get points."

The Panthers ended their season-long seven-game homestand with a 4-2-1 record.

Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford scored for the Jets (33-23-12), who fell behind the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card for the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Kings have 79 points after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 later Thursday. The Kings also have a game in hand.

The Jets have lost three of four and end a four-game road trip Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I think frustrating is the word," Stafford said. "Now is the time we need every point possible. We just need to figure out a way to turn this thing around. We'll take what we can from this one and get ready for another tough challenge in Tampa."

Michael Frolik assisted on Stafford's goal to extend his career-high point streak to eight games (five goals, three assists). Hutchinson, who was pulled from two of his previous three starts, made 16 saves.

"I felt good," Hutchinson said. "I thought I made some big saves during the course of the game. They didn't throw many easy saves at me all night. Whenever they shot, they were either shooting for a deflection or it was a good scoring chance. It was one of those games where you had to stay focused because I wasn't seeing the puck as much."

The Panthers led 2-1 heading into the third period before Stafford tied it at 3:47 when a pass in the slot went off a stick and then off Stafford's body. He collected the loose puck in front of the net and put it past Ellis.

MacKenzie gave Florida a 1-0 lead with a highlight-reel goal at 16:28 of the first period. Dave Bolland, back after missing eight games with an upper-body injury, was standing near the Winnipeg blue line when he backhanded a blind pass toward the net.

With the puck slightly out of MacKenzie's reach, he dove to get his stick on it and deflect it toward the net. Hutchinson got a piece of the puck but it trickled past him for MacKenzie's first non-empty-net goal since Dec. 16.

"If you actually back up a bit, [Shawn] Thornton makes a good play, had a good battle in the neutral zone," MacKenzie said. "And then I'm yelling and screaming at [Bolland]. He makes an unbelievable pass. After that, I could try that 100 times and it wouldn't work. I'll account the rest of that to luck.

"I was definitely yelling. I thought maybe I'd get a breakaway out of it. Just the way it worked out, it was kind of just a desperation play."

Hutchinson produced a spectacular save midway through the second period on a Florida power play. He found himself in a prone position when the puck went to Jagr at the side of the net. Jagr fired high into the open net, but Hutchinson stopped the shot with a kick save.

Scheifele tied the game 1-1 at 9:14 of the second when he scored 10 seconds after the end of a Panthers power play. Scheifele beat Ellis with a floating wrist shot from the right circle.

Boyes gave Florida a 2-1 lead with a fluky power-play goal at 17:07 of the second. He took a centering pass from Huberdeau outside the crease, but his redirect was stopped by the stick of defenseman Adam Pardy. Boyes and Pardy tried to hit the puck out of midair, but Pardy knocked it into his own net.

Huberdeau extended his point streak to five games (two goals, six assists).

"The kids played great," Gallant said. "They were outstanding. The line played real good. [Barkov] shooting the puck like he can shoot it and scoring that goal, the go-ahead goal, was real big for us."

Panthers rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad was in the lineup after missing their previous game, a 4-3 shootout victory against the New York Islanders on Saturday, because of the flu.

The Jets defeated the Panthers 8-2 in Winnipeg on Jan. 13. Jets forward Mathieu Perreault and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who had four and two goals in that first game, missed the rematch because of injury.

"I don't even remember it because it was so long ago," Huberdeau said. "We're a better team than we were there. I think we had a really good road trip when we went there and were tired. It was like a 14-day road trip. It was a huge win and now we have to focus for the next one."

The Panthers play back-to-back road games against the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday and Sunday before returning to play the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Winnipeg defenseman Tyler Myers left the game in the second period because of an apparent upper-body injury. Myers slammed into the boards after sliding to try to break up Jussi Jokinen's breakaway attempt early in the second period. Myers briefly returned to the game before leaving for good. Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said after the game he had no update on Myers' status.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
16:28FLA Derek MacKenzie (5) ASST: Dave Bolland (14), Shawn Thornton (3) 1 - 0 FLA
2nd Period
09:14WPG Mark Scheifele (11) ASST: Blake Wheeler (32), Adam Pardy (6) 1 - 1 Tie
17:07FLA PPG - Brad Boyes (12) ASST: Jonathan Huberdeau (29), Jaromir Jagr (21) 2 - 1 FLA
3rd Period
06:13WPG Drew Stafford (13) ASST: Michael Frolik (21), Jiri Tlusty (12) 2 - 2 Tie
16:07FLA Aleksander Barkov (11) ASST: Jonathan Huberdeau (30), Jaromir Jagr (22) 3 - 2 FLA
19:14FLA EN - Nick Bjugstad (24) ASST: Jussi Jokinen (31) 4 - 2 FLA
Three Stars of the Game
Aleksander Barkov
Aleksander Barkov
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:35
Jonathan Huberdeau
Jonathan Huberdeau
G: 0Shots: 0
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 15:38
Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr
G: 0Shots: 0
A: 2Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:29
Penalty Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
03:03FLA Aaron Ekblad  Interference against  Mark Scheifele
07:04WPG Toby Enstrom  Cross checking against  Aleksander Barkov
15:45WPG Mark Stuart  Cross checking against  Jimmy Hayes
18:49WPG Toby Enstrom  Holding against  Jaromir Jagr
3rd Period
09:38FLA Brandon Pirri  Abuse of officials - bench
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/21/3
Faceoff Wins2428
Blocked Shots612
Penalty Minutes64
2A. PardyD0110021:05
5M. StuartD0000221:55
8J. TroubaD00-11029:45
12D. StaffordR1003017:02
14A. PelusoR00-1005:25
16A. LaddL00-13019:16
17A. LowryC00-10014:17
19J. SlaterC00-1008:26
20L. StempniakR00-12014:23
22C. ThorburnR00-10011:37
23J. HarrisonD000009:10
26B. WheelerR0102021:34
39T. EnstromD00-21427:31
55M. ScheifeleC1004021:20
57T. MyersD0002010:36
58E. O'DellC00-1005:55
67M. FrolikR0112019:20
91J. TlustyL0120018:04
34M. Hutchinson1619.84258:01
3S. KampferD0001017:23
5A. EkbladD0012220:37
7D. KulikovD0000018:25
11J. HuberdeauL0210015:38
12J. HayesR0002015:44
16A. BarkovC1012018:35
17D. MacKenzieC1001013:26
21V. TrocheckC00-10013:05
22S. ThorntonL0100010:29
24B. BoyesR1013014:26
27N. BjugstadC1014017:45
33W. MitchellD0001020:19
36J. JokinenL0111017:19
44E. GudbransonD0000019:02
51B. CampbellD0010019:22
63D. BollandC01-10013:31
68J. JagrR0210016:29
73B. PirriC00-13014:28
39D. Ellis1820.90059:57