Aleksander Barkov

Habs clinch playoff berth with OT win over the Panthers


Max Pacioretty scored the overtime winner, his team-leading 36th, as the Montreal Canadiens clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

Florida is four points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card seed in the Eastern Conference.

Carey Price made 21 saves for the Habs, who moved one point ahead of the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Roberto Luongo stopped 22 shots in the loss.

Luongo’s biggest save came with 2:46 remaining in the third as he robbed Tomas Plekanec helping the Panthers earn a single point.

Aleksander Barkov scored both of Florida’s goals. Jonthan Huberdeau had a pair of assists.

Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk scored in regulation for Montreal.

Video: Barkov gets the Panthers on the board with a beautiful backhander

Aleksander Barkov finished off a nice passing play by line mates Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau to get the Panthers on the board tonight in Montreal.

The 19-year-old beat Carey Price with a nice backhander for his 13th of the season.

Report: Panthers ‘enthralled’ with Jagr’s performance, will look to re-sign


Looks as though Florida’s quite pleased with trade deadline pickup Jaromir Jagr, per ESPN:

Panthers management has been so enthralled with what they’ve seen from Jagr on and off the ice that it’s all but guaranteed they will approach his camp after the season to see if he wants to stay on. The pending UFA winger wouldn’t tip his hand Thursday, but he did mention that when he’s happy somewhere, he doesn’t look to leave.

At the end of the day, there’s a financial negotiation that needs to take place and that numbers have to work for each side. One thing’s for sure, though. Jagr sees a team that’s going to contend in years to come.

“To be honest with you guys, and maybe this will surprise a lot of people, but the talent we’ve got here, it’s a very, very talented team,” said Jagr, his new team clearly a revelation to him once he got there.

Jagr, 43, is on a one-year deal with a $3.5M cap hit and has been pretty strong in March, scoring two goals and eight points in 10 games as Florida continues to push for the playoffs — so it’s no real surprise the Panthers want to keep him around. The organization also appears keen on furthering the mentor-student dynamic, currently at play between 37-year-old Willie Mitchell and 19-year-old rookie Aaron Ekblad; Ekblad is currently living with Mitchell and his wife, a relationship that was recently covered by Grantland’s Katie Baker (which is definitely worth a read.)

Over the last few games, Jagr has played on the “kid line” with 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov.

“I know how important it is to give them advice,” Jagr told ESPN. “I know they’re going to find out on their own, but maybe a little bit later. If I give them something and they take the advice, it’s going to be good for them. Like I did.

“When I was younger, I had so many great players around me who tried to help me all the time. It helped my hockey career.’’

Video: Callahan intercepts Panthers’ pass, sets up Johnson’s rocket one-timer

The Florida Panthers have won back-to-back contests, but with the Ottawa Senators threatening to run away with the last Wild Card spot on the strength of their red hot play, the Panthers had a lot of pressure on them coming into tonight’s game against Tampa Bay.

The first period didn’t go their way though. Lightning forward Brenden Morrow took advantage of a rebound opportunity to make it 1-0 just 5:49 minutes into the contest. A little less than two minutes later, Ryan Callahan stole a pass intended for Florida’s Aleksander Barkov and then fed the puck to Tyler Johnson who fired a powerful one-timer past goaltender Roberto Luongo.

You can see that sequence below:

With nine games left in its schedule, Tampa Bay is two points behind the Montreal Canadiens in the battle for the Atlantic Division title. The Lightning also have a shot of taking the Presidents’ Trophy.

Video: Jagr scores 718th goal, passes Phil Esposito


Jaromir Jagr’s climb up the NHL’s all-time leaderboards continued tonight with another huge milestone.

With the help of 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov, Jaromir Jagr, who is older than both of them combined, found the back of the net for the 718th time in his career to give Florida a 1-0 lead over Detroit. Jagr has now surpassed Phil Esposito to claim sole ownership of fifth place on the NHL’s career goals list.

If Jagr is able to extend his career into the 2015-16 campaign, then he’ll have a chance of surpassing Marcel Dionne and perhaps even Brett Hull. Jagr trials Dionne by 13 goals and Hull by 23 markers.

Brandon Pirri scored for Florida less than four minutes later and Jagr assisted on that marker. With two points tonight, Jagr is up to 1,791 in his career. He ranks in fifth place on the all-time leaderboard in that category as well, just behind Ron Francis (1,798).