It was nice for the Florida Panthers to feel good about themselves on Thursday night.
But they did not have much time to enjoy their 7-2 pounding of the Montreal Canadiens as the Panthers had an 11 p.m. flight to catch to Raleigh, North Carolina.
Florida was able to smoke a below-average Montreal squad to snap a three-game losing streak thanks in large part to Sasha Barkov’s first-period hat trick.
Only Friday night brings a much different challenge.
”We played exactly how we wanted,’’ Barkov said in a quick postgame Thursday. “Now we have to keep playing that way, keep building. Tomorrow is going to be a tough game as well and we have to think about that and bring the same energy we did today. Tomorrow is a new challenge. Carolina has been really good.”
The Hurricanes are steamrolling folks these days, bringing a nine-game winning streak into tonight’s game.
Carolina has also won 13 of its past 14 — and have not played since beating the Chicago Tanks 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Florida has yet to win three games in a row this entire season.
They need to get on a roll soon — and they know it.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Barkov ended up with the quickest hat trick in franchise history and also set the franchise record for most power play goals by surpassing Scott Mellanby.
The Panthers needed to feel good about themselves after what had been a disastrous December and the Canadiens definitely helped with that.
— The Panthers had a lot of their key players back for the Canadiens on Thursday.
— Anton Levtchi made his NHL debut on Thursday and looked pretty good out there.
— All of the postgame reactions from Barkov, Paul Maurice and Carter Verhaeghe is up on the FHN YouTube Channel.
Check it all out either by clicking the embedded videos below or click RIGHT HERE to see everything we’ve got up.
Also have some pregame stuff with Matthew Tkachuk — and that’s always interesting.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
— Rookie defenseman Arber Xhekaj had himself another night for the Montreal Canadiens.
— The Detroit Red Wings had a monster comeback against the Pens on Wednesday night.
— T.J. Oshie is out of the no-contact jersey and that is good news for him and the Washington Capitals.
— With Kris Letang hurt, the Pittsburgh Penguins could have Ty Smith in against the Devils — the team which traded him to the ‘Burgh in the first place.
— Speaking of the Montreal Canadiens, if the Rangers make Alex Lafreniere, they should check it out. And we bet they are.
— So, who is interested in James van Riemsdyk? How about the Vegas Golden Knights.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT CAROLINA HURRICANES
- When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
- Streaming ONLY: ESPN+/Hulu
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 3-0
- This season (Florida leads 1-0): Florida 3, Carolina 2 (Nov. 9)
- All-time regular season series: Carolina leads 69-46-10, 11 ties