The Florida Panthers extended their winning streak to five games as they defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-3 on Thursday night at BB&T Center. Roberto Luongo passed Tony Esposito for 7th place all-time in NHL history with his 424th career win.
The Panthers, who have won 17 of their last 21 games, improved to 26-3-3 when they scored first and 22-0-1 when they scored at least three goals in a game.
Florida(31-15-5) hit the Red Wings with an avalanche of goals in the first period. They got on the scoreboard at 8:30 of the stanza. Jaromir Jagr was on the right wing and placed a pass to the top of the zone. Alex Petrovic blasted a slapshot that was deflected in by Brandon Pirri. Jagr compiled his 1,100th NHL assist on the play and became the sixth player to reach that milestone.
The Panthers then connected with two goals in a 24-second span. Aleksander Barkov ripped a slapshot from the high slot by Jimmy Howard for a power-play goal at 10:41. He extended his goal-scoring streak to three games and his point streak to five games. Vincent Trocheck followed as he raced through the middle of the ice and scored on a snap shot from the low slot at 11:06. He moved his point streak to four games with that tally.
Detroit(25-18-8) attempted to climb back into the contest as they scored on the power play with six seconds left in the period. Dylan Larkin was alone in the low slot and received a pass from Henrik Zetterberg in the right corner. He put a wrist shot by Luongo for his 16th goal of the season.
In the second period, the Red Wings pulled to 3-2 at 1:01. Larkin came out of his own zone, carried the puck across center ice, went to the top left circle and scored his second goal of the contest and 17th goal of the season.
The Cats regained a two-goal cushion with 3:47 to go in the second. Pirri made a spin-around pass from the left corner and the puck went off the left skate of Derek MacKenzie at the top of the crease.
Jagr got his 738th NHL goal at 3:45 of the third period to give the Panthers a 5-2 margin. He nailed a one-timer from the right circle following a backhand feed by Trocheck in the high slot. Jagr is now three goals behind Brett Hull for 3rd all-time in NHL goals.
The Red Wings had a power play midway in the period and brought out an extra attacker. It worked as Mike Green rocketed a slapshot from the top of the zone for a score at 12:36 after he got a pass from Justin Abdelkader from the right point.
Detroit pulled their goalie from the net again, however this time Florida was able to find the twine with 5:41 remaining in the third. Reilly Smith made a short pass in the neutral zone to Trocheck and he placed the puck into the empty net.