EditorsNote: changes ‘ties’ to ‘sets’ in headline
Aleksander Barkov set a franchise record with five assists and defensemen MacKenzie Weegar and Mike Matheson scored twice each to lead the host Florida Panthers to a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla.
Panthers rookie goalie Sam Montembeault, making just his second NHL start, stopped 26 shots for his first win.
Meanwhile, Barkov leads the Panthers with 75 points, and Matheson is a productive defenseman with 24 goals in his last three seasons in the league.
But Weegar, who had just returned on Tuesday after having missed four straight games due to a lower-body injury, entered this game with just three career goals in 112 games. His two first-period goals proved to be a positive omen for Florida.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman also scored for the Panthers. Huberdeau, who added three assists, has set a career high with 72 points, and Hoffman tops the team with a career-high 31 goals.
Florida’s top line — Barkov, Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov — combined for 12 points.
Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk, who on Thursday shut out the best team in hockey, the Tampa Bay Lightning, lasted just one period, making four saves while allowing three goals. Backup goalie Alex Stalock allowed three goals and made 19 saves on 22 shots.
Florida opened the scoring just 61 seconds into the game as Barkov, operating from behind the net, fed Huberdeau on the doorstep.
Weegar followed with his two goals in succession, with the first one going in off Wild defenseman Ryan Suter’s backside.
Florida took a 4-0 lead with 3:34 expired in the second period as Hoffman took a pass from Barkov and drilled a one-timer for his team-best 14th power-play goal of the season.
There were three more goals in the second period, with scores coming from — in order — Minnesota’s J.T. Brown on a deflection, Florida’s Matheson on a wrist shot and the Wild’s Marcus Foligno on a tap-in.
Matheson’s second goal — which occurred with 9:37 left in the third period — came on a wrap-around.
—Field Level Media