Coming into the season, the Panthers had two spots open on their fourth line alongside center Derek MacKenzie.
Greg McKegg and Shane Harper both had a strong showing in training camp and won the positions.
Through the first five games, it looks like Florida made the right call.
"Those guys," defenseman Steven Kampfer said, "have been awesome."
McKegg and Harper may have been unknowns to many fans, but they introduced themselves in a big way Saturday night.
In Florida's 5-2 win over Colorado, Florida took its first lead in the second period when McKegg picked the pocket to Colorado's Matt Duchene in the Avs zone and broke loose.
McKegg and Harper flew up the ice with McKegg sending a perfect feed onto Harper's stick.
The puck ended up in the back of the net before later being wrapped in tape to commemorate Harper's first NHL goal.
Early in the third, Harper one-timed a pretty feed from Alex Petrovic for his second NHL goal to help the Panthers further distance themselves from the Avs.
"It was quite a game," said Harper through a smile that refused to leave his face.
"The first [goal] felt so good, I had a few chances in the first and second -- Kegger made a heck of a pass -- just relieved some pressure. It was pretty darned exciting."
Following the victory, Harper stayed by the bench to talk to Florida's television team before heading into the locker room.
The Panthers, as a team, all headed into their weight room so when Harper walked in to celebrate, the room was completely empty.
Soon, they all poured in to congratulate the 27-year-old rookie on his career night.
"That’s what teams are all about," coach Gerard Gallant said. "You cheer for the guys that haven’t scored a goal in the NHL before and it makes your team feel real good.
"If your guys aren’t excited when one of your younger players – not that he’s young – but when one of your rookie players scores a goal, then there’s something wrong with your team. They stick together, they play together and it was good to see.”
When the locker room finally opened, the large media throng converged on his locker stall as veterans Roberto Luongo and Jaromir Jagr -- used to being subject of the big scrums Harper was now in front of -- smiled at the scene.
It was a long time coming.
FACEBOOK VIDEO: Gerard Gallant meets the media following Saturday’s game courtesy of One Panther Parkway
"To see him, 27 years old, finally get his first NHL goal and pop two in the same game," Vincent Trocheck said, "it’s exciting to see that.”
Harper certainly didn't take the short road to the NHL and takes pride in being able to work his way up from the lowest reaches of North American pro hockey.
A native of southern California, Harper spent time with the ECHL Greenville Road Warriors before spending most of the next six seasons in the AHL.
"I do take some pride in that," he said, "making it out of there."
After scoring 32 goals with AHL Chicago Wolves, the Panthers signed Harper in 2015.
Gallant said during camp that the Panthers had planned on calling Harper up a few times last season, but both times, Harper was injured.
His time finally came this year when he not only made the team, but made his NHL debut in Florida's opening night victory over the Devils earlier this month.
"I'm pretty excited," he said, "and I know when I call my parents, they're going to be ecstatic."
Not to be outdone, McKegg seems to have become a favorite of Gallant for his tough-nosed play on the fourth line while also showing a bit of skill.
McKegg's steal and fast break up the ice Saturday showed he can definitely play a little bit.
"I felt like we were buzzing in the zone and it was nice to get something there," said McKegg, who got his first NHL assist on Mike Matheson's first NHL goal against Tampa Bay last Tuesday after scoring twice in 15 games with the Panthers last year.
"We're getting familiar with each other; I played with Harper in Portland last year, here with MacKenzie a little bit. We're getting familiar with each other and hopefully building a real chemistry."
Said Gallant: "They’re getting some opportunities. They work hard and they compete hard and they battle hard. That’s what you ask from your team. They are a good example of that.”
▪ The Panthers will hold an open practice Monday morning at 11 at the Coral Springs IceDen.
Following the workout, the team will fly to Pittsburgh and kick off its first real road trip of the season Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins.