Jaromir Jagr wasn’t very happy after the Panthers beat Buffalo 3-2 on Oct. 15, calling his team “more lucky than good” adding he was worried that continued style would cost them.
Florida lost three straight after beating the Sabres.
On Saturday night, the Panthers put everything back together in an impressive 6-2 victory over a Dallas team which had won five straight and beaten Tampa Bay twice in a week.
“We haven’t played very well since the Buffalo game, and even in the Buffalo game, I had a bad feeling,’’ Jagr said. “We didn’t cycle the puck much, didn’t have a puck possession game. [Saturday] looked like the first time in a while we made plays. [Dallas is] a risky team and we took advantage.”
Florida trailed 1-0 after Tyler Seguin’s long shot skipped off the skate of Jamie Benn in front of Al Montoya.
The Stars’ didn’t have much luck against the Panthers after that.
Jagr tied the score at 11:03 of the first and Nick Bjugstad gave them the lead for good minutes later after blasting a Jonathan Huberdeau pass while sliding into the slot.
With Montoya playing strong in place of Roberto Luongo and making 33 saves, the Panthers played perhaps their most complete game of the season save for the 7-1 rout of the Flyers on opening night.
Florida got goals from its new-look top line as Bjugstad replaces the injured Sasha Barkov who could miss some time with an injured right hand.
Jagr, who said he’s a hard guy to play with, gelled with the 20-year-old Barkov from the start last season. It also appears he and Bjugstad will work fine together.
“I like playing with Barkov, everybody knows that, but an injury happened,’’ Jagr said. “It’s good to know I can play with Bjugstad. It’s not easy playing with me, trust me. He’s a big guy who can skate and has a long reach. He makes a lot of plays. Look at how tall he is. When he skates, with these rules, it’s hard to hold him down.”
Both Bjugstad and Jagr scored with Huberdeau getting the primary assists on both.
Florida also got goals from Aaron Ekblad and Dave Bolland for the first time this season with Reilly Smith and Quinton Howden also scoring.
The Panthers, if they’re going to make the playoffs this season, will need that kind of balanced scoring throughout.
“We got contributions all the way through,’’ Montoya said.
This team was built with the thought that all four lines would be responsible offensively and Saturday night was a good showing of what this team can be when it wants to moving forward.
“We like our team, we like to compete and battle,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said. “We lost a very good player as Barkov didn’t play, but other guys stepped up. That’s what teams are all about. Guys have to play with other guys, lines aren’t going to be the same all year.’’
The Panthers went 1-1-1 on this past road trip against playoff-quality teams in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Dallas and kickoff a three-game homestand Tuesday.
Florida will play host to Colorado, Boston and Washington — three big games before heading to California next week.
▪ The Panthers do not have a goalie controversy brewing, but instead feel fortunate to have such strong play in net.
Montoya, making just his second start and appearance of the season, gave Gallant another reason to have faith in his abilities to spot start for Luongo after last year’s inconsistent season.
The Panthers are now 2-0 with Montoya in net after he helped lead Florida to a 4-1 win at Carolina on Oct. 13.
Luongo, meanwhile, is off to a great start and has kept the Panthers in games (see Pittsburgh) they could have been blown out in.
“[Montoya] made seven or eight Grade A saves,’’ Gallant said. “He made some great saves and that’s what it’s all about. Luongo is our No. 1 goalie, but you need two to be real good. Montoya has been excellent this year. From Day 1, we haven’t had a bad game in goal.”
▪ Florida will hold an open practice Monday at 11 a.m. at the IceDen in Coral Springs.
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Saturday: Panthers at Stars
When, Where: 8 p.m.; AmericanAirlines Center, Dallas
TV/Radio: FSFL; WQAM 560, WMEN 620, WNMA 1210
Series: Dallas leads 14-13-3
Scouting report: This is the second meeting in a week and final meeting between the two this season. Dallas won the opener 4-2 in Sunrise last Saturday night. The Stars are red-hot right now, beating host Tampa Bay on Thursday to improve to 6-1.