Florida Panthers

Panthers’ goal binge comes at a convenient time

Good fortune: Forward Brad Boyes said, ‘We’re putting pucks to the net, had some lucky bounces.’
Good fortune: Forward Brad Boyes said, ‘We’re putting pucks to the net, had some lucky bounces.’ AP

The Panthers put on quite an offensive show Sunday night, scoring as many goals in the second period as they had in a single game all season.

Add in goals in the first and third periods and the Panthers’ 6-2 win over the host Ducks in Anaheim was Florida’s biggest offensive night of the year.

For a team that scored two goals or fewer in 10 of its first 11 games, Florida’s latest goal binge is a welcomed sight.

In the past four games, the Panthers have scored 17 times and have gone 2-1-1 in the process.

Florida’s California road trip continues Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in Los Angeles.

The Panthers wrap up their Golden State tour Thursday in San Jose.

“It’s good to see,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said before Monday’s workout at the Toyota Sports Center.

“We talked about putting pucks to the net all year, and now we’re doing it. We had some puck luck [Sunday] as well, had some pucks bounce off their people, and we needed some of that finally.’’

The Panthers got contributions from throughout their lineup with 10 players appearing on the scoresheet.

The biggest game came from Nick Bjugstad who earned the West Point cadet jacket (which goes to the team’s “hero’’ of the night) after scoring two goals and registering a career-high four points.

“It was a good game, a good all-around game for everyone,’’ said Bjugstad, who came into Sunday with three points in his first 14 games but now has four goals in five games.

“We played good defensively, and the offensive stuff came from that. It was a good win and a fun game.’’

Other big contributors in the win included Brad Boyes, who had two goals and an assist for the first time since the 2013-14 home opener against Pittsburgh.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored his first goal since the opener as five of Florida’s six goals came from the Huberdeau-Bjugstad-Boyes line.

“We’ve played really well against good teams, and this [Anaheim] is one of the best teams in the league,’’ said Boyes, who hadn’t scored in eight games before Sunday.

“We’re doing some things as a team, playing smart with the puck. We did a lot of things well. We’re putting pucks to the net, had some lucky bounces. For us, we need to learn to do that, and the coaches have been on us to do just that.’’

Rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad kept his scoring run going as he assisted on Huberdeau’s goal and is now second on the team with 10 points — six coming in the past four games.

“I think he’s getting more confident every game,’’ Gallant said. “We look at from the first game on, he hasn’t had a rough spot. He’s played real well for us, but every game he seems to get better. He’s not cocky, but he does have confidence. He’s doing everything we expect him to. We’re real happy with him.’’


Panthers captain Willie Mitchell will receive his 2014 Stanley Cup championship ring before Tuesday night’s game.

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who signed Mitchell to a four-year deal in 2010, will present Mitchell with his hardware in a private ceremony at the arena.

“It’s always nice to be able to win the Cup and then return to the place you did it,’’ Gallant said. “It’s going to be a great night for him, I’m sure.’’

▪ Roberto Luongo will be back in net Tuesday after being given Sunday off. Al Montoya made 33 saves as he recorded his first win with the Panthers in his third start.

Montoya lost to the host Capitals in a shootout Oct.18 and lost at home to the Flames on Nov.8.

“He was really solid [Sunday], and it was a good bounce-back game for him,’’ Gallant said. “He wasn’t happy with his last game against Calgary. He made some key saves at key points of the game.’’

▪ Florida’s four injured players — Dmitry Kulikov, Dave Bolland, Sean Bergenheim and Brandon Pirri — are close to returning, but the Panthers’ recent success has Gallant hesitant to make any changes.

Bergenheim, Gallant said, is the closest to being ready to return and might play Tuesday.

Vinny Trocheck is likely to head back to the minors when Florida does make some roster moves even though he has a goal and four assists in the past four games.

“He’s been awesome, has played really well for us,’’ Gallant said. “He came up and fit in real well and is getting some points. He’s doing everything we’ve asked.’’

Tuesday: Panthers at Kings

When/where: 10:30 p.m.; Staples Center, Los Angeles.

TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM 560.

The series: Los Angeles leads 14-9-3.

Noteworthy: The Kings, who are coming off Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win over Anaheim, won both meetings against the Panthers last year by a combined 7-0. The Panthers haven’t won in Los Angeles since Nov. 27, 2002.

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