Florida Panthers Win Four Games on Six Game Road Trip


Panthers Have Best Road Trip in Team History Earning Eight of Twelve Points

This wasn’t a road trip that anyone would likely want to endure in just eleven days. Whether you’re a tough hockey player or not. It involved starting in Buffalo on January 2nd, heading south to Washington D.C., flying across North America to Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, and finally ending in Winnipeg.

Most residents of South Florida say that it is “cold” when the temperature hits 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they had to deal with temperatures for some days below zero.

"Nevertheless, the Florida Panthers won four of six of the games on this grueling trek and earned the most points on a road trip in their history."

The victories came in Buffalo, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. Likely, the most memorable win was against the Canucks for Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo’s first game back in Vancouver where he had previously spent eight seasons.

In Buffalo, against a depleted Sabres team, Luongo achieved a 30 save shutout and forward Nick Bjugstad scored a rare power play goal to help his team win 2-0.

Two nights later in Washington wasn’t nearly as easy against a Capitals team that the Panthers are just behind in the standings. It was a very close affair throughout the whole game. While Nick Bjugstad was hot again with a goal and assist in the game, so were the Capitals forwards Brooks Laich and Alexander Ovechkin.

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They also had a goal and assist each in the game as well. Washington was able to score on their power play as the Panthers went 0 for 5 on theirs which lead to a 4-3 Capitals win.

With it being a special night for Luongo back in Vancouver four nights later, he made sure to be ready to earn his team a win with 32 saves against his former team. While Luongo earned the first star, perhaps it should have been also given to forward Jonathan Huberdeau.

He scored two goals and earned an assist in a 3-1 Florida win. Canucks fans gave Luongo a standing ovation after the game and many still chanted “Luuuu” after every save in the game.

The Panthers were not likely to win the second of a back-to-back according to their history, but they did it in a high-scoring and exciting affair by beating the Flames 6-5 in Calgary. Huberdeau had another excellent game against with a goal and an assist.

Seven different Panthers had points making it a complete team effort in front of backup goaltender Al Montoya. For the Flames, defenseman T.J. Brodie had two goals and forward Lance Bouma with two assists.

Edmonton had not been kind to the Panthers as they had not won there since 2008, but that streak was snapped two days later with a 4-2 win. It was also the Panthers first three-game winning streak of the season. Luongo had another impressive game with 31 saves. The team seemed in great spirits as they headed for their last game of the trip in Winnipeg.

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The Florida Panthers will have a better regular season in 2023-24
The Florida Panthers will have a better regular season in 2023-24 /

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  • Unfortunately, for the Panthers sake, it seemed that they thought more about returning to sunny South Florida than showing up in this game. The recent impressive Jets smashed the Panthers 8-2. Luongo was chased from the net after allowing four goals on twenty shots.

    Al Montoya didn’t fare any better with four goals allowed on fifteen shots. While it’s easy to blame the goaltenders, the Panthers defense looked very unprepared and were at fault for many of Winnipeg’s eight goals on the night. It was indeed a great night if you’re Jets forward Mathieu Perreault. He had four goals and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien had two goals and an assist.

    Despite the road trip ending on a very sour note, the Panthers should feel extremely satisfied overall about their results. Now, with 49 points exactly halfway through the regular season, they were able to keep pace in the standings with the Eastern Conference Wild Card race.

    The Panthers are three points behind the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins for the first and second spots. However, the Rangers have played one less game than the Panthers and the Bruins have played three more.

    The team is on pace for 98 points, which if can be done, would tie a team points record set back in the 1999-2000 season. They went on to earn the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference that season before getting swept by the New Jersey Devils.

    They will now go home to play three games before the Allstar Break against the Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks before two more after the break against the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets.

    The Panthers offense needed to wake up if they wanted to stay in the playoff race. It was much better than average with twenty goals on this six-game road trip to average 3.33 goals a game. The fact that the Panthers can return to the rink in shorts and sandals should mentally feel better than wearing multiple layers.

    Maybe that will account with a rebound win on the ice on Thursday.

    Next: A Look At the Nick Bjugstad Contract

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