By PAUL GEREFFI | Associated Press
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 37 shots for his third shutout of the season, leading the Florida Panthers to a 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
Aleksander Barkov scored twice, Gustav Forsling had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Lomberg scored his fourth goal in three games as the Panthers won their 28th home game, a club record for a season.
“It was a good game,” Bobrovsky said. “It was a lot of shots, I thought we played a great team game in all zones. Everything was solid for a 60-minute game.”
Jonathan Huberdeau recorded his 71st assist, an NHL record for assists by a left winger. Huberdeau has 94 points, tied with Pavel Bure. He is closing in on the club record of 96 set by Barkov in the 2018-19 season.
“Cool moment. Couldn’t do it without my team,” Huberdeau said. “I’ve been aware of it on social media, but I didn’t try to think about it. You keep going, keep piling assists.”
The Panthers could clinch a playoff spot as early as Saturday.
“It’s been a great season, so far, but there’s still a lot of hockey left,” interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “We’re not content with just breaking these little records. We have an eye on a bigger prize and we still have a way to get there.”
Collin Delia stopped 40 shots for the Blackhawks, who lost their third straight game.
“We just couldn’t get it by their goalie. He stood on his head. We had numerous opportunities point blank and they just weren’t going in,” interim coach Derek King said. “They were coming back to the bench shaking their head.”
Barkov’s second goal stretched the Panthers lead to 4-0. During a 5-on-3 power play, Barkov took a pass from Huberdeau in the right circle and beat Delia with 6:13 left in the game. Barkov leads the Panthers with 31 goals.
Lomberg put the Panthers ahead 2-0 when he took a pass from Joe Thornton, skated in and beat Delia on the glove side at 7:23 of the second.
Forsling’s shot from the point got through traffic and into the net to make the score 3-0 with 8:14 left in the second. The goal survived a coach’s challenge from Chicago for goalie interference.
Barkov gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with 1:36 left in the first when he stuffed in the puck during a scrum in front of the Chicago net.
The Panthers had a goal disallowed 41 seconds in when it was ruled that Barkov kicked the puck in with his skate.
SIX WITH 20
The Panthers have six 20-goal scorers for the first time. Only seven teams in the last 25 years have had more than six players score that many goals. Detroit (2005-06) had eight. New Jersey (2000-01), San Jose (2010-11), Philadelphia (2013-14), Toronto (2018-19) and Washington (2008-09 and 2018-19) all had seven.
NOTES: Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews played his 1,000th NHL game. Toews is the 366th NHL player to reach the milestone and the eighth Chicago player ““It was a special game, win or lose,” Toews said ... FanDuel Sportsbook lists Florida currently as the second betting choice to win the Stanley Cup, behind only Colorado. ... This was the start of Chicago’s next-to-last back-to-back of the season. The Blackhawks visit Arizona on April 20 and Los Angeles on April 21.
Blackhawks: Visit Tampa Bay on Friday.
Panthers: Visit New Jersey on Saturday.
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