“I obviously appreciate him a lot,” Panthers interim head coach Andrew Brunette said. “They’re doing it the right way. They’re doing it in a team environment, doing the right things. It’s not a year where they’re just looking for their own points and not playing a team game.
“I think they bought in. For a trainer, nothing is more gratifying than seeing them rewarded for what they have done. We still have a lot of hockey left and they can hopefully build up the numbers and keep going at the pace they are going.”
Refusing to slow down, Verhaeghe opened the scoring for the Panthers by catching a pass from Alexander Barkovskated into the slot, turned and shot past Carter Hart to extend his scoring streak to three games and make it 1-0 with just 3:25 remaining in the first period.
Video: [email protected]: Verhaeghe goes through the slot machine and climbs onto the top shelf
Fanning the flames of Florida’s scorching power play, Reinhart helped pull the Panthers away later in the first period when he scored twice with the man advantage – both of his goals coming just around blue paint – at 2:12 p.m. and 6:11 p.m., respectively. , to make it a 3-0 game.
Adding his second goal, Verhaeghe showed his killer shot again when he carried the puck into the high slot and ripped another wrist past Hart to make it 4-0 at 7:30 p.m.
In the second period, the Flyers pushed back.
After Kevin Hayes intercepted a pass behind the net before setting up James van Riemsdyk for a goal from the slot to cut Philadelphia’s deficit to 4-1 at 9:01, Cam Atkinson crushed a floating rebound past Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 4-2 just over three minutes later at 12:23.
At 18:52, Travis Konecny deflected a shot from Cam York on the power play to make it 4-3.
“It’s tough,” Brunette said of the middle frame. “You have a 4-0 lead in games, and it’s hard to stay focused. They’re only human and they’re going to have some misses. We had a little miss. We don’t have too many at home , but we were able to regroup after the period and get back to work.”
Recovering one of those goals for the Panthers in the third period, Duclair, who remains absolutely on fire, lit the lamp on the power play for the fourth straight game when his cross shot took a nice rebound off the goal stick. a defender and entered the string to make it 5-3 at 6:59.
As the Flyers pulled their goalie late in favor of a 6-5 advantage, Huberdeau let an easy goal slip into an empty net in favor of sending the rubber to Reinhart, who hit the flat in the cage to complete his hat trick and put the Panthers ahead 6-3 with 2:06 left on the clock.
“He knows what’s going on all the time,” Brunette said of Huberdeau’s passing skills. “He’s an extremely selfless player. You don’t have  helps without being very aware, very insightful, very intelligent and selfless. He demonstrated all of those things tonight.”
The third NHL team to reach the 40-game plateau, the Panthers, who have won each of their last five games, are now 40-13-5 with a five-point cushion atop the Atlantic Division.
After making the home crowd happy, they will now play their next seven games on the road.
“We’re ready for it,” Verhaeghe said of the upcoming trek outside South Florida. “We like being at home and playing in front of our fans, but I think it’s going to be a good bond.”
Here are five takeaways from Thursday’s victory at Sunrise…
1. MAKE IT TWENTY
Verhaeghe is clearly feeling very, very well at the moment.
After six games without a score, the skilled scorer found the back of the net twice in the first period against the Flyers to extend his scoring streak to three games. Known for his precision and ability to shoot the puck in stride, both of his goals came on precision shots from the slot.
Video: [email protected]: Verhaeghe scores in the 1st half
“I had two good looks right in the slot,” Verhaeghe said. “I just tried to pull as hard as I could.”
Making the first 20-goal season of his career, Verhaeghe’s 46 points are also already 10 more than his previous career high of 36 from 2020-21. During his four-game point streak, he had six points (four goals, two assists) while skating on the team’s vaunted first line.
Putting on another solid possession game, Florida led 22-6 in shot attempts when the line of Verhaeghe, Barkov and Maxime Mamin was deployed at 5 vs. 5, per Natural Stat Trick.
“Our line was buzzing in the first,” Verhaeghe said. “It continued throughout the game.”
2. REINO’S CHARGE
When there is a Reino around the net, what can a goalkeeper do?
Scoring two power-play goals in the first period in the space of 3:59, Reinhart struck first when he deflected a Huberdeau shot from the right on the doorstep. Showing off his hand-eye coordination, he then batted a puck through the air and from almost the same exact spot.
His second baseball-style goal this week, maybe he can now moonlight in MLB?
Video: [email protected]: Reinhart hits knee-high rebound for PPG
“They’re nice to have, just a little tight,” he smiled when asked about his batting average.
With help from Huberdeau, Reinhart then completed the sixth hat-trick of his career and second of the season when the No.11 set him up for an empty-net goal to seal the game in the third period.
“Before the shift, I said to him, ‘If you’re open, I’ll pass it to you. Huberdeau said of the selfless streak. “I saw it coming, and it was great. He’s played so well this year.”
Indeed, he has.
Third on the team with 57 points (22 goals, 35 assists), Reinhart has collected at least one point in 12 of his last 14 games, collecting 10 goals and 10 assists during this beautiful period.
With eight more points, he will tie the career-high 65 he posted with Buffalo in 2018-19.
3. EVEN MORE POWER
Another game, another power play goal for Duclair.
Cementing himself as a key cog on the top unit, the speedy striker found the back of the net for the fourth straight game with the extra striker when his centering drive caught a piece of defender’s stick in the slot and sailed past Hart to put the Panthers up 5-3 in the third period.
Video: [email protected]: Duclair sends the feed to the niche, deflects
“Achieving that goal was huge on the power play,” Verhaeghe said.
Possessing the best power play in the NHL since Jan. 1, the Panthers have been particularly surgical in their execution over their past six outings while going 12-for-25 (48%) with the added forward.
“I think we won some battles, extended some games,” Reinhart said. “I think you look 5-6 games ago, and maybe you were overthinking a bit. When you tend to do that, you’re trying to force the game a bit too much instead of just reading and reacting. We have enough skill there to trust our system a bit and simplify it, and we’ve had success with that.
Hitting two milestones in one fell swoop, Duclair, who has seven power-play goals this season, hit new career highs in goals (24) and points (45) thanks to his timely tally.
4. A HAND
Huberdeau begins to beat his own records.
With four assists against the Flyers, the Hart Trophy contender took his league-leading total to 64, breaking his previous franchise single-season record of 62 set in 2018-19.
Video: [email protected]: Reinhart buries his 3rd in an empty net
“It’s been a good year,” said the star winger. “I feel like we get points – everyone gets points. We have a lot of depth. It was just a fun year. We score a lot of goals. I was just happy to get the two points. It’s a franchise to register, but that doesn’t really matter to me.”
In the running for season-ending gear, Huberdeau, at the time of this writing, sits alone atop the NHL scoring list with 82 points in 58 games. A model of offensive consistency, he has broken the scoresheet in 25 of his last 28 games while providing 41 assists during that span.
“A hell of a feat,” Reinhart said of the record. “It’s nothing new to see from him.”
5. NEW CAT ON THE BLOCK
The Panthers got their first look at Petteri Lindbohm this evening.
Entering a one-year contract on March 1 after helping Finland win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics last month, the big-bodied defenseman racked up three hits, two blocked shots and a flat to take away while seeing 12:14 of ice time by his side. Brandon Montour to the third couple.
Showing his impressive strength, he landed a massive blow on Scott Laughton in the second period, which also saw him drop the gloves and fight Konecny.
“I was really impressed with him,” Brunette said. “I think he handled the game very well. I think he brought a bit of physicality to the game, a bit of toughness. You could tell he was a veteran. In the third period he did a lot clever things.”
Although he played with Jokerit in the KHL before signing with the Panthers, Lindbohm is no stranger to the NHL. Still only 28 years old, he appeared in 41 games in three seasons with the Blues from 2014 to 2017 after being selected in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
“I’m just happy to see him having a good first game,” Huberdeau said.
BONUS: ASSISTS FOR EK
As he continues to push for the Norris Trophy, we can’t forget Aaron Ekblad.
With four assists against the Flyers, Ekblad became the third defenseman in franchise history to record that many in a single game, joining Bryan McCabe (2010) and Brian Campbell (2011).
Fifth in scoring among NHL defensemen, he has already recorded a career-high 54 points (15 goals, 39 assists) this season.