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The Buzzer: Horvat erupts; Luongo spectacular

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Three Stars

1. Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks

Horvat was one of 11 Canucks to record a point on Thursday, and he topped the heap with two goals and two assists as the Canucks doubled up the Boston Bruins 8-4. The game featured no goaltending. Horvat took three minor penalties in the game, too, so he could have likely done even more damage against unenthused Boston club.

2. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers

He stopped 26-of-27 saves. It’s not a 50-save performance by any means, but when you watch the highlights, Luongo will be sprinkled all over them. ‘Lu’ made two incredible glove-hand saves in the game, one of which you will see below. Luongo has now won both starts since returning from an injury sustained in the first game of the regular season. Florida struggled mightily with Luongo out of the lineup but have now beaten the Winnipeg Jets and the Oilers since his return as he tries to turn around Florida’s terrible start.

3. Jeff Skinner, Buffalo Sabres

He might have been the acquisition of the summer. Skinner scored two more goals on Thursday as the Sabres edged the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 in overtime. Skinner has 11 goals on the season, including six in his past six games. His career high is 37 and he’s on pace to flirt with 40 this season.

Other notable performances

  • Jake DeBrusk did his best to help the Bruins win with two goals and an assist. He didn’t get much help from his goaltenders in a walloping to the Canucks though.
  • Skinner wasn’t the only one scoring in multiples on Thursday. Vladimir Sobotka notched two of his own in the Sabres win.
  • Like DeBrusk above, New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey was a victim of lackluster goaltending after putting up a brace of his own.
  • Mikko Koivu assisted on all three Wild goals in a 3-1 win against the Kings.

Highlights of the Night

Not so fast, Rattie:

This kind of thing should be banned:

A powerful message from Los Angeles and Minnesota:

Factoids

Scores

Canucks 8, Bruins 5

Panthers 4, Oilers 1

Flyers 5, Coyotes 4 (OT)

Golden Knights 5, Senators 3

Lightning 4, Islanders 2

Sabres 6, Canadiens 5 (OT)

Hurricanes 4, Blackhawks 3

Starts 4, Sharks 3

Wild 3, Kings 1


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Buzzer: Pettersson notches five points; Luongo wins in return

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Three Stars

1. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

You get the sense that this kid is going to be written in this top spot many times over the next 15 years. He’s just bloody special. Pettersson had two goals and five points in a 7-6 win against the Colorado Avalanche. His second goal of the game came with the score 6-5 Avalanche and 35 seconds left on the clock in the third period. Clutch. Also clutch? An assist on the game-winner in overtime. Pettersson has nine goals and 15 points now in nine games and is starting to run away in the rookie of the year race in early November.

2. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers 

Luongo wasn’t supposed to feature in Finland at first. Then he was brought on the trip, taken off injured reserve and placed into the net for the first time since around the 32-minute mark of Florida’s season opener. And Luongo picked up right where he left off, saving a lot of pucks. ‘Lou’ shut the door 32 times against the Winnipeg Jets as the Panthers earned a split in Finland. The win was Florida’s third of the season. James Reimer and Michael Hutchinson have been south of brutal thus far so Luongo can stay healthy, it’s likely Florida can start clawing its way back.

3. Antti Raanta, Arizona Coyotes

You have to hand it to a goalie who stopped 48 of 51 shots against a high-power Carolina Hurricanes team. Raanta was the savior on special teams as well, turning aside nine power-play shots on six Carolina power plays. Carolina was 0-for-6 on their opportunities. Raanta and the Coyotes survived a flurry in the third period after getting outshot 23-5 in the final frame. Raanta then had to make a clutch save in overtime to boot to help ‘Yotes to their fifth straight win.

A couple other notables:

  • Brock Boeser snapped an eight-game goalless streak with two goals against Colorado
  • Nathan MacKinnon had a three-point night, including two goals and is up to 11 markers on the season.

Highlights of the Night

Holy moly:

That footwork:

Goalie hat trick:

Factoids

Scores

Panthers 4, Jets 2

Coyotes 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)

Canucks 7, Avalanche 6 (OT)

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Brendan Lemieux ejected for hit on Vincent Trocheck

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(UPDATE: Lemieux will have a hearing on Monday afternoon.)

The Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers wrapped up their two games in Finland (aka The Global Series) with tensions really starting to flare.

After the Jets won on the strength of Patrik Laine‘s hat trick on Thursday, the Panthers rallied for a 4-2 win on Friday, with a violent span possibly serving as the turning point. Brendan Lemieux received a match penalty for an ugly hit on Vincent Trocheck, which prompted a Lemieux – MacKenzie Weegar fight.

(You can watch that exchange in the video above this post’s headline.)

The score was 2-2 at the time of Lemieux’s hit. Despite Weegar receiving an instigator penalty that abbreviated Florida’s power-play opportunity, the Panthers still scored on the ensuing man advantage. Keith Yandle‘s tally ended up standing as the game-winning goal, ensuring that the Panthers would leave Finland with two standings points.

Lemieux also received a high-sticking penalty in Friday’s game, which opened the door for a Mike Hoffman power-play goal. That’s a pretty brutal bit of work for Claude Lemieux’s son, who collected those two costly infractions despite logging just 4:41 in ice time.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli points out that Lemieux’s match penalty will automatically get a look from the NHL:

This marked just the 18th NHL game of Lemieux’s career, as the 22-year-old has largely followed in his father’s footsteps in the AHL. Despite some considerable draft pedigree (31st pick of the 2014 NHL Draft), moments like these won’t help the young forward’s chances of consistently cracking a loaded Jets lineup.

Even ignoring his genes, this outcome probably shouldn’t be too shocking:

So, does he deserve to be suspended? If so, for how long? Either way, Lemieux didn’t endear himself to his opponents or his own team with that hit, and the penalty that resulted.

In other news, Roberto Luongo returned to the Panthers’ lineup a little bit earlier than expected, making 32 out of 34 saves for an impressive victory. He had no chance on Patrik Laine’s fourth goal in two games in Finland, but was otherwise very sharp.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

WATCH LIVE: Jets battle Panthers in Finland on NBCSN

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Thursday afternoon’s matchup between the Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers at 2 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports App by clicking here.

The Jets are looking to rebound after blowing a 2-0 lead in the third period last Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Losers of two out of their past three, the Jets are looking to climb the Central Division standings with a win in the first of a back-to-back in Finland as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

Meanwhile, the Panthers need to start winning. With just two wins in their first nine games of the season, the Panthers sit dead last in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

James Reimer gets the nod in net for the Panthers. Reimer has struggled in the absence of Roberto Luongo, posting just a single win in five game starts. His .878 save percentage leaves a lot to be desired and he’s in tough against the high-powered Jets offense.

Reimer will face off against Vezina finalist Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck’s season hasn’t started in the same vein as it did when he won 44 games last year. He’s 4-4-1 with a pedestrian .907 save percentage in nine starts.

[WATCH LIVE – 2 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

What: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers
Where: Hartwall Arena (Helsinki, Finland)
When: Thursday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: You can watch the Jets-Predators stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

JETS
Nikolaj EhlersMark ScheifeleBlake Wheeler
Kyle ConnorBryan LittleMathieu Perreault
Brandon TanevAdam LowryPatrik Laine
Brendan LemieuxAndrew CoppJack Roslovic

Josh MorrisseyJacob Trouba
Ben ChiarotDustin Byfuglien
Dmitry KulikovTyler Myers

Starting goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

PANTHERS
Evgenii DadonovAleksander BarkovNick Bjugstad
Jonathan HuberdeauVincent TrocheckMike Hoffman
Frank VatranoJared McCannDenis Malgin
Troy BrouwerJuho LammikkoColton Sceviour

Keith YandleAlexander Petrovic
Mike MathesonAaron Ekblad
MacKenzie WeegarBogdan Kiselevich

Starting goalie: James Reimer

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Roberto Luongo’s looming return is big for Panthers

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An in-season journey overseas can be disruptive for even the most well-acquainted teams, yet this Finnish trip isn’t the only curveball the Florida Panthers have been dealing with.

Years of wear and tear (sometimes absorbing a hail of shots, often with Florida) seem to be catching up to Roberto Luongo, and it didn’t take long for them to catch up with the veteran goalie again. Just one game into 2018-19, Luongo suffered an injury that landed him on IR. Thursday brings a positive sign, then: he’s been taken off IR.

The less-good news is that Luongo’s not expected to play in Thursday or Friday’s Global Series games against the Winnipeg Jets, yet coach Bob Boughner believes he is close, as NHL.com’s Brian Compton reports.

“Officially, if [Luongo] is ready, he could play, but we’re going to make that decision tomorrow,” Boughner said. “I could see him more playing when we get back home, [but] he’s close. He’s real close.”

Considering what the 39-year-old goalie has been through, it’s not that surprising that Florida’s being conservative regarding Luongo’s return. Bougher wants him to be at “110 percent,” which is something we should all strive for, really.

(You had me at 85 percent.)

When Luongo went down with his latest injury, the thought was that Florida was at least reasonably prepared to roll without their No. 1 goalie.

After all, James Reimer‘s been either a starting goalie (in Toronto) or a prominent “platoon” option for some time, and the Panthers scooped up a reasonably inexperienced netminder in Michael Hutchinson as added goalie insurance. If nothing else, the Panthers are allocating serious resources beyond Luongo; Reimer’s $3.4 million cap hit runs for three more seasons.

Well, they haven’t really been getting their money’s worth so far. The Panthers head into this game against the Jets with a frustrating 2-4-3 record, and poor goaltending ranks as one of their biggest issues. Reimer’s been disappointing (.878 save percentage in seven games) and Hutchinson’s been lousy (.839 in four games), so it’s not shocking that Florida ranks among the dregs as far as team save percentage goes.

The Panthers can’t expect their battered puckstopper to heal all wounds, but you can forgive them for crossing their fingers that Luongo might at least stop the bleeding.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.