The Florida Panthers became the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs of the Stanley Cup with a 5-3 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Sunday.
Jonathan Huberdeau, who has 97 points (24 goals, 73 assists) this season, scored to set the Panthers single-season points record. Adding to this Anthony Duclair netted two goals, and Spencer Knight made 26 saves for the Panthers (48-15-6).
“They should be proud of themselves,” Florida coach Andrew Brunette said, as quoted by NHL.com. “I think that’s the No. 1 goal heading into the season, and we have one of them. Lots of hockey left, but let’s enjoy the moment. It’s been an interesting 70 games, and they deserve every ounce of credit they are getting.”
“Lucky to be Huberdeau’s teammate and to play with him”
Talking about the stupendous display of play by the 28-year-old Huberdeau, his teammate Aleksander Barkov was glad to play alongside him.
“He’s a tremendous, tremendous player and he deserves it the way he’s been playing,” Barkov said of Huberdeau. “It couldn’t happen to a better guy. We still have a lot of games left, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to see where he’s going to end up. I’m just lucky to be his teammate and to play with him and see him do his thing.”
Huberdeau’s goal came at 6:18 of the second to tie it 1-1 when Claude Giroux got a loose puck after Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson slipped and fed Jonathan in the slot.
“I think we have enough talent in the room to score goals and everyone’s working hard, not just expecting that we’re going to score goals,” Barkov signed off. “The talent is there, but if you’re not working, nothing’s going to happen. I think everyone has the talent and has the work ethic to score those goals.”