Jaromir Jagr scored. Roberto Luongo was almost perfect in net. And the Florida Panthers won again.
The Atlantic Division-leading Panthers have now won 10 games in a row after overpowering the Buffalo Sabres by a final score of 5-1 on Tuesday, as they started a six-game road trip. Luongo stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced, as Florida once again reaped the benefits of solid goaltending that should at least put Luongo in the Vezina conversation at this point in the season.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Derek MacKenzie and Corban Knight each recorded two-point nights, and the Panthers continue to make franchise history, while grasping the attention of the hockey world for their current run and subsequent rise through the standings.
They now have a five point lead on both the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings in the division.
“We won’t be at home, but we want to keep playing the same game,’’ Aleksander Barkov told the Miami Herald.
“We have to keep playing the same way, keep trusting in each other. We’re not only winning at home, but we win on the road. That’s the sign of a good team. We’re pretty confident in our team. We know when we play like this, we can beat any team in the league.’’
Don’t look now, but Sidney Crosby has goals in four straight games.
He snapped home a perfect shot from his off wing to get the Pittsburgh Penguins on the board against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. He beat Corey Crawford on the blocker side, the puck whipping off the inside of the post and around the mesh.
But, of course, it helps when a healthy Kris Letang can skate the puck up the ice like he did on this rush, helping to set up the Crosby goal.
For Crosby, it’s been a while since he found himself on such a scoring streak:
It was setting up to potentially be a perfect story: Jarome Iginla facing his old team, the Calgary Flames, on Saturday with a chance to score his 600th career NHL regular season goal.
Of the 599 goals the 38-year-old Iginla has scored, 525 of those came as a member of the Flames from 1996-97 to 2013. But the script fell apart, as the Colorado Avalanche lost to the visiting Flames by a final score of 4-0.
Iginla was held to just one shot on goal.
The Flames opened the floodgates in the second period with three goals of their own.
“I thought we had good intention (but) I guess we focused more in seeing Iggy scoring that 600th instead of playing our game,” said Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy, as per The Denver Post.
“We had had a few good chances and we tried to pass the puck to him instead of bringing it to the net. For example, (Alex) Tanguay is all alone in front of the net and he’s trying a little (pass) to Iggy.
“We’re going to have to refocus. It’s not that I don’t want Iggy scoring his 600th but we need to play our game.”
When it comes to his first career NHL victory, Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Anton Forsberg has one heck of an interesting story to tell everyone.
Forsberg, on emergency recall from the AHL after Sergei Bobrovsky re-aggravated his previous groin injury, didn’t start Saturday versus the Washington Capitals. He didn’t even enter the game until overtime had already started, when Curtis McElhinney suffered an injury.
Put into a difficult situation, Forsberg stopped all six shots he faced in overtime, then allowed only one goal in the shootout — an absolute beauty from T.J. Oshie — as the Blue Jackets came back to defeat the Capitals 5-4.
As per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 23-year-old Forsberg is the first goalie to earn their first NHL win when entering the game after regulation time.
“It’s obviously not the situation you thought you’d be in, but I couldn’t do anything other than go in and take it for what it is,” said Forsberg, as per the Columbus Dispatch.
“I didn’t really have time to think that much. I had to ready as fast as I could. It’s kind of crazy.”
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets have won two games in a row — against the Capitals on Saturday and Dallas Stars on Dec. 29, the top two teams in the league.
San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski was called for an illegal check to the head of Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little during the second period of Saturday’s game.
Pavelski received a minor penalty, while Little briefly left the game but did return.
The Pavelski hit on Little occurred shortly after Toby Enstrom upended Joe Thornton with an open-ice hit in the neutral zone. Enstrom was called for interference, and a scrum broke out after the whistle.