The Florida Panthers blasted the Calgary Flames, 6-2, Tuesday night (Jan. 4) at FLA Live Arena. The win extended their win streak to four and pushed them to 21-7-4 on the season. With the loss, Calgary fell to 17-7-6 on the season.
After Patric Hornqvist opened the scoring 5:58 into the game, the Flames scored twice in three minutes to take a 2-1 lead midway through the first period. Anthony Duclair responded three minutes later with a tip-in goal, and Joe Thornton took the lead back for Florida with a power-play goal at 18:51 of the opening period. The Panthers didn’t look back after that, tacking on another goal in the second period and two more in the third.
Defenseman Brandon Montour tallied three assists for the Panthers, Carter Verhaeghe added two of his own, Hornqvist scored two goals, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 47 of 49 shots. Thornton, who hadn’t played since Dec. 16, extended his streak of consecutive calendar years with a goal to 26. Blake Coleman and Johnny Gaudreau each had a goal for Calgary.
The Panthers lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 16, their third loss in a row. During the three-game losing streak (which, in fairness, involved multiple key players missing due to positive COVID tests), they were outscored 15-5. They didn’t play again until Dec. 29, as they had four games postponed due to COVID.
When the Panthers did return to the ice, they beat the New York Rangers 4-3 at home thanks to three third-period goals. The next night, they smashed the shorthanded Tampa Bay Lightning 9-3. Florida then rang in the new year with a 5-2 win over the decimated Montreal Canadiens. On Tuesday night, they capped off the four-game homestand with a four-goal victory over a strong Calgary squad.
In all, the Panthers have outscored the opposition 22-10 in their last four games. They’ve also scored at least one goal in each of the previous 11 periods they’ve played, with multiple goals in eight of them. Florida is enjoying their third winning streak of the season of a least four games. They started the season with eight straight wins and won four straight in mid-November.
Continuing to Show Their Depth
In the Panthers’ drubbing of Tampa Bay on Dec. 30, eight different players scored a goal, and 15 different skaters registered at least one point. In their New Year’s Day win against Montreal, 10 different players tallied at least one point. In Tuesday night’s win, five different players – Hornvquist, Duclair, Thornton, Ryan Lomberg, and Lucas Carlsson – found the back of the net, and 12 different players notched at least a point for the Panthers, who were without Sam Bennett (suspension), Sam Reinhart (COVID), and Mason Marchment (COVID).
“We’re a close group. We all get so excited seeing our teammates have success. I think that’s part of being a really good team and a close-knit group. We’re almost happier when other guys have success vs. ourselves. Like I said, it’s a close group and we’re having fun.”– Ryan Lomberg, following the Panthers’ 6-2 win over Calgary
The Panthers have had 10 games already this season in which at least 10 different skaters have registered a point. Overall, 19 players have scored at least one goal for Florida, and 22 have notched at least one assist through 32 games. That kind of depth is a major reason the Panthers currently sit one point behind Tampa for the best record in the NHL.
Double Revenge Game
A player on each side was facing the team he started his career with on Tuesday night. Lomberg signed with the Flames on Mar. 19, 2017, and made his NHL debut with Calgary in Jan. 2018. He appeared in seven games that season and four games the following season for the Flames before signing with the Panthers on Oct. 9, 2020. He played in 34 games for Florida last season and has appeared in 20 games this season.
Lomberg scored his second goal of the season (and fourth of his career) on Tuesday night against his former team. It went better for him than it did for Calgary goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who saved 39 of 45 shots in his return to Sunrise.
Markstrom was drafted 31st overall by the Panthers in the 2008 NHL Draft and appeared in 43 games for Florida between 2010 and 2014 before being traded to Vancouver on March 4, 2014, in the deal that brought Roberto Luongo back to Florida. He eventually became a primary goalie for the Canucks before becoming a free agent following the 2019-20 season. The Flames signed him on Oct. 9, 2020.
You Might Also Like:
- 3 Potential Trade Destinations for Panthers’ Radko Gudas
- Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk Well-Deserving of All-Star Selection
- 3 Potential Trade Destinations for Panthers’ Sam Bennett
- Panthers’ Gudas a Potential Suitor for Oilers’ Back End
- Penguins & Panthers Emerging as Potential Trade Partners
The Panthers hit the road on Thursday (Jan. 6) to battle the Dallas Stars (15-12-2). Puck drop is slated for 8:30 PM ET. Calgary will stay in Florida to face the Lightning (22-8-5) Thursday at 7:00 PM ET.
Latest News & Highlights
Grant is a freelance writer covering the Florida Panthers/Columbus Blue Jackets and contributing to Morning Skate for THW. He started his own sports blog (Head in the Game) in 2013 and worked in the sports information department while at Trine University, from where he graduated in 2019. You can follow Grant on Twitter @G_Tingley.