Florida Panthers

Panthers sign Bjugstad’s former roommate, Minnesota Gophers captain Kyle Rau

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The Florida Panthers announced that Kyle Rau has agreed to an entry-level contract. The 22-year-old forward has completed his four-year stint with the University of Minnesota.

Rau was taken by the Panthers with the 91st overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Since then he’s gone on to have a very successful run with the Minnesota Gophers.

He has recorded at least 40 points in each of his NCAA campaigns, including 20 goals and 21 assists in 39 games this season. The Gophers captain is the first Minnesota player to accumulate at least 150 career points since Troy Riddle did it in 2004.

“We are very pleased to have agreed to an entry level contract with Kyle,” said Panthers GM Dale Tallon. “He played extremely well at the University of Minnesota, leading the Gophers to back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championships and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He is another one of our young and talented prospects who is prepared to take the next step in his hockey career.”

He also has strong ties with another promising Panthers forward in Nick Bjugstad. The two played together with Minnesota and were roommates before Bjugstad began his pro career, per the Miami Herald’s George Richards.

Jagr, Panthers focused on playoffs fight, not contract talks

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The Florida Panthers appear to be very interested in re-signing recent trade acquisition Jaromir Jagr, so it wasn’t surprising to hear that Jagr’s agent, Peter Svoboda, was scheduled to meet with Panthers GM Dale Talon. However, while Florida did relay its interest in a contract extension directly to Svoboda, there won’t be a signing in the near future.

After all, the Panthers are still trying to claw their way into the playoffs.

“This is too important a time; we’ll get to it when time is right,” Tallon told the Miami Herald.

“We’ll talk after the season. … He has interest [in staying] but is a free agent on July 1. He’ll make up his mind when he makes up his mind. From what I’ve seen and what has gone on, it would be tremendous to have him back here.”

Jagr has two goals and 10 points in 13 games with the Florida Panthers and has tried to be a mentor for his linemates, 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov.

Florida is four points behind the Boston Bruins in the battle for the second Wild Card seed with seven games remaining in each team’s schedule.

Habs clinch playoff berth with OT win over the Panthers

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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.

Goalie nods: Lundqvist won’t get to ease back in

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Long live the King?

As already noted earlier today, it appears as though Henrik Lundqvist will make his return to the New York Rangers’ net as they face the Boston Bruins (who most likely will roll with Tuukka Rask).

Normally, this would be a cause for outright glee, and it’s true that “King Henrik” will be gladly welcomed back into the fold. Still, the Rangers have been on a tear thanks in a large part to Cam Talbot’s wonderful play in Hank’s absence, so it remains to be seen if New York sees a little fall-off.

Let there be no doubt that the Bruins will send their best at Lundqvist, so this isn’t exactly an example of easing a player back into the mix.

This is just one of several games during an unusually busy Saturday afternoon, so hopefully hockey fans already got their errands (and napping) done today.

Elsewhere:

Predators at Capitals: Pekka Rinne vs. Braden Holtby

Ducks at Islanders: Probably Frederik Andersen vs. Michal Neuvirth

Sharks at Flyers: Alex Stalock vs. (likely) Steve Mason

Coyotes at Penguins: Mike Smith vs. Thomas Greiss

Lightning at Red Wings: Likely Ben Bishop s. Petr Mrazek

Senators at Maple Leafs: Craig Anderson vs. James Reimer

Panthers at Canadiens: Roberto Luongo vs. Carey Price

Devils at Hurricanes: Keith Kinkaid vs. Cam Ward

Blue Jackets at Blues: Likely Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Brian Elliott

Kings at Wild: Likely Jonathan Quick vs. Devan Dubnyk

Sabres at Avalanche: ANders Lindback vs. Semyon Varlamov

Stars at Canucks: Maybe Kari Lehtonen vs. Eddie Lack