Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers’ Sasha Barkov scores game-winner in shootout; Jaromir Jagr scores milestone goal

Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov (16) scores the winning goal past Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) during the shootout period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers defeated the Canucks 5-4.
Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov (16) scores the winning goal past Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) during the shootout period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers defeated the Canucks 5-4. AP

Jaromir Jagr achieved another milestone then smiled as he watched linemate Sasha Barkov burn yet another goalie with a spectacular shootout goal.

Yeah, it was just another Sunday for the Panthers.

Jagr’s goal, which put him alone in fourth place on the NHL’s all-time list, and Barkov’s highlight-stealer helped lead the Panthers to a 5-4 victory over visiting Vancouver.

“Great win,’’ said coach Gerard Gallant, whose team has won 10 of its past 13.

“It was a great game where we created a lot but gave up way too much. ... We got the two points, played a better second half in the third and it was a great win for the fans. Those kind of games sell tickets for sure.”

Florida’s fourth consecutive victory puts it just three points back of Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division and kept the Panthers in playoff position for another day.

Although it’s only December, the Panthers’ solid play is building plenty of confidence.

The Panthers play host to Ottawa on Tuesday in their final game before the Christmas break. Florida plays its next five in Sunrise, not leaving again until January.

“We found a way to win and we’ll take it,’’ said Shawn Thornton, whose first goal of the season tied the game at 1 in the opening period. “We have to keep being consistent here. It’s a long season, a long time between now and April. But we know we have a good team.’’

Florida didn’t play the strong defense it had shown on its recent 3-1 road trip as Vancouver had numerous chances and held the lead twice early.

Down 1-0, Florida got a rare goal from Thornton after he buried the puck after Vancouver’s Ben Hutton put it on his stick with goalie Ryan Miller out of position.

“It has been a while,’’ Thornton joked.

Trailing 2-1 late in the period, Jagr camped out in front of Miller and drilled a great pass from Barkov to tie the score with 11.5 seconds left before the first break.

The goal put Jagr ahead of Marcel Dionne for fourth all-time and puts him nine back of Brett Hull for third.

“The goal is sweet but the win is even sweeter,’’ Jagr said. “We didn’t give up, waited for the perfect opportunity to win the game.’’

Florida grabbed the lead twice in the second on goals from Vincent Trocheck and Aaron Ekblad only to see the Canucks tie it up in pretty quick fashion.

The Panthers played a much better defensive game in the third and had chances to take the lead again only Miller was strong with 38 saves.

Florida was all over Miller in overtime, taking eight shots in the 3-on-3 session, but even a brief 4-on-3 chance late couldn’t get the Panthers a coveted overtime win.

In the shootout, Brandon Pirri was automatic again and knocked Miller out of the game with what the team is calling simple cramps.

Former Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom — who went to Vancouver in the Roberto Luongo trade in 2014 — came in and stopped Huberdeau before Barkov came on.

Barkov, as creative a shootout specialist Florida has ever had, charged in on Markstrom then bounced the puck off his skate, tapped his stick on the ice to get Markstrom moving left before backhanding a shot top shelf.

“Barkov made a great move, a special move,’’ Jagr said with a grin. “I told him I’m done with him. I teach him everything I can and he hasn’t taught me anything.’’

Luongo (30 saves) made one last stop on Sven Baertschi and the rubber rats began to hit the ice.

The win was Luongo’s first in Sunrise against his former teammates since coming back in 2014.

“It’s always great to win, get two points but it was a tough game,’’ Barkov said. “When you score in the shootout, you have confidence to try new moves. Now I have to learn something else. I don’t have anything more.’’

▪  Jagr on his goal: “It is special and it tells me I played with a lot of great players. That makes it a lot easier for me. I started in Pittsburgh with great players and I’m going to end here with great players.”

▪  Gallant said Nick Bjugstad has been skating the past few days but will not return until after the break.

Bjugstad has been out since Nov. 30 because of migraines and just returned to the ice.

▪  Derek MacKenzie and Alex Petrovic have been medically cleared to play and one — if not both — will be back Tuesday.

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