The Florida Panthers finished the month of February as one of the top teams in the league. Ranked ninth in the league in goals a game and the fourth-highest point percentage in the league, the Cats have silenced their doubters and continue to be one of the most dominant teams in the NHL. Their success has been highlighted by some of their stars on offense, and three of those forwards made my list of the Three Stars for the month of February.
Third Star – Patric Hornqvist
In January, Patric Hornqvist made the Pittsburgh Penguins regret trading him. February was no different from that narrative.
Hornqvist was a major piece for the offense’s success last month. Throughout that month, he piled up 11 points (four goals, seven assists). Near the end of the month, he had three points in two games against the Stars and the Canes that helped lead major comebacks. Currently, he leads the team in goals with nine and power-play goals with five.
He’s also shown that he’s willing to get his hands dirty as his style of play continues to make magic happen in the blue paint. In addition, he’s brought a leadership quality that has been missing from Florida in years past. In addition, he brings a new sense of toughness that has seemed to rub off on the team.
Second Star – Aleksander Barkov
The Panthers’ captain continues to show why he is one of the best centers in today’s league.
Throughout February, he came through with six goals and seven assists. With that, he’s second on the team lead in goals with eight total. In addition, his point total on the season is now at 21 (eight goals, 13 assists), making him second on the team in points. Furthermore, he had five power-play points this month, making him tied for third with Hornqvist in power-play points on the year with eight. He continues to show his lethality on the man-advantage.
His two-way game makes him easily one of the best defensive-minded centers in today’s game and makes him a Selke candidate almost every season. This season is no different and should be an easy shoe-in for this years trophy.
First Star – Jonathan Huberdeau
Jonathan Huberdeau continues to play at an All-Star level and should be shown more recognition in today’s NHL.
This past month, he was an absolute game-changer. He had seven goals and ten assists through this month, giving him a season total of 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists). On the man-advantage, he tallied five more points this past month, bringing his power-play point total to ten on the season. With that, he leads the team in power-play points. Furthermore, Huberdeau had five multi-points throughout the month. This includes the night he notched his first career hat trick on Feb. 4 against the Nashville Predators.
For the past few seasons, Huberdeau has played at an elite level. From winning the Calder Trophy in 2013 to becoming the franchise leader in points, he’s showed no signs of slowing down and has become an established face within the Panthers organization.
Bring on the Ides of March
While this season is a little different from normal, March is still one of the most competitive months in an NHL season. It means make or break for bubble teams and it shows if those dominant teams are still as tough as they were early in the season. In years past, Florida would be entering March as a bubble team, or not relevant at all. This is not the case this season as they enter tied for first in the Central Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With this electrifying team, they make it seem like anything is possible. And in this abnormal season, you need to always expect the unexpected.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!