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Huberdeau sets franchise points record, and the Bobrovsky-less Panthers beat Toronto

Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald on

Published in Hockey

MIAMI -- The Florida Panthers had already put the game out of reach on Sunday, but the two moments down the stretch were just as meaningful.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored a goal late in the second period and assisted on a Mike Hoffman power-play goal in the third period to break Olli Jokinen's franchise record for career points as the Panthers routed the Toronto Maple Leafs 8-4 at the BB&T Center.

Huberdeau tied Jokinen's mark when he took a feed from Aleksander Barkov in front of the Maple Leafs net, weaved slightly to his right and buried the puck past goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Barkov quickly embrace his linemate to the right of the net immediately after he scored.

The record-setting moment and Huberdeau's 420th career point came with 15:27 left in regulation when he dished the puck across the ice to Hoffman in the right circle. Hoffman buried the puck into the net with a slap shot for his second goal of the game.

The euphoria of the moment capped a needed win for the Panthers (24-16-5) against an Atlantic Division foe and moved them that much closer to holding a top-three spot in the division. Florida's 53 points are one behind the Maple Leafs for that third-place spot and has them in the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

And even with starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky being a late scratch, the high-octane Panthers had no problem defending home ice.

 

They had a five-goal lead before Toronto got on the board and extended the lead to 7-1 before the Maple Leafs went on a three-goal flurry between the end of the second period and start of the third.

Their eight goals were the most this season, topping their previous best of seven that came against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 20. Thirteen players had either one goal or assist, with Barkov (one goal, two assists) and Vincent Trocheck (one goal, two assists) each picking up three points.

Chris Driedger stopped 42 of 46 shots that came his way to improve to 5-2-0 in his seven starts this year.

He had the advantage of playing with a lead from the start.

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