Monday, November 16, 2015

Barkov Returns to Panthers Lineup, Nearly Scores 'Tweener Goal

Aleksander Barkov returned to the Florida Panthers lineup on Monday after missing ten games with a broken bone in his hand. Barkov was the only Panthers forward to play more than 20 minutes, registering two shots, three hits and three takeaways in the Panthers 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Though he didn't score on the play, Barkov wowed with this dazzling between-the-legs move that was stopped by Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Barkov, a 20-year-old Finn who scored a career-best 16 goals in 71 games last season for the Panthers, also made his active stick pay dividends, causing this turnover by Matt Carle.

Barkov also drew a tripping penalty on Victor Hedman late in the third period, and he set up Jaromir Jagr for a golden opportunity with just under a minute left but Jagr directed the backhand wide.

Aaron Ekblad scored the game winner with 21 seconds to go on a seeing-eye goal that bounced off Victor Hedman's leg and into the net to give Florida the win.

"Aaron Ekblad should buy a lottery ticket," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the game. "He should send somebody to buy a lottery ticket in the last minute of the game."

Roberto Luongo notched the shutout, the 69th of his career, for the Panthers. The veteran netminder is the all-time active shutout leader, and leads Henrik lundqvist by 13. Luongo also tied Glen Hall for 8th on the NHL's all-time list with his 407th win.

Florida climbs into a tie with the Lighting and Red Wings for third in the Atlantic Division with the win. The Panthers have two games in hand on the intrastate rivals, however.