Mason Marchment scored twice in the first period, so, registering his first NHL hat trick had been in the back of his mind of much of the Florida Panthers game Friday night against the host Minnesota Wild.
With 5:27 remaining, he got it.
“I knew there was an empty net so I just tried to fire it down there,” Marchment said after the Panthers ran out of St. Paul with a 6-2 win over the Wild.
“I don’t know how it got through. It was kind of a muffin. I saw it get through the defense and it was on a good path, so I just wished for the best and saw it went in and then I got to celly with the boys. It was awesome.”
Marchment had a six-point night on Jan. 31 in Columbus, the penultimate game before the Panthers headed into their two-week All-Star break. He almost got his first hat trick that night — but he did win NHL Third Star of the Week.
The two week break does not seem to have cooled him off.
“I’d take either of them honestly,” Marchment said when asked which of the two he would have rather had.
“It was a great night, one I will also never forget. I’m thankful for my linemates.”
Those linemates — Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart — have found chemistry with Marchment since the trio was reunited just before the break.
In addition to Marchment’s six-point night, Lundell was also named NHL Rookie of the Month for January after registering 17 points in a 15-game run.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now and his line has a lot of good chemistry right now, I think they really enjoy playing with each other and they’re taking advantage of it,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said.
In his past seven games, Mason Marchment has 15 points: nine goals and six assists.
For context, Marchment’s previous career-high in points was 10 — a mark that took him 33 games to reach in the 2021 season.
“He’s been on an unbelievable stretch where he’s just producing at a surreal number right now. It’s fun to see, and the confidence is oozing out of him,” Brunette said.
“He’s so strong on the puck. It’s the one thing I really enjoy and I think it’s imperative for our team to have that puck strength that he has where he holds onto it and you can’t take it off of him and that’s what makes us a good team and he’s a big part of it.”
Kirill Kaprizov started off the scoring with a power play marker 7:07 into the first period.
From there, it was all Panthers.
Marchment first got the Panthers on the board with 9:58 to go in the opening frame from in close to tie the game up.
Less than three minutes later, Marchment registered his second of the game off of a feed from Lundell to give Florida the 2-1 lead.
Jonathan Huberdeau found Anthony Duclair near the right face-off circle 8:38 into the second period to extend the Panthers’ lead to 3-1.
Huberdeau’s assist was his 50th of the season which leads the league. He has now hit the 50 assist mark three times in his career.
The Panthers went to the power play just 23 seconds into the third and their top unit delivered.
Aaron Ekblad sent a wrist shot past Cam Talbot 1:41 into the period to make it a 4-1 Florida lead.
Mats Zuccarello answered back with a power play goal of his own with 10:18 to go to cut the Panthers’ lead to two.
The Wild made the unorthodox decision to pull their goaltender with 7:20 to go … and it did not pay off.
“There’s not much pressure,” Sergei Bobrovsky said of the Wild’s decision to go 6-on-5 earlier than expected. “You play your game, you play the situation the game brings you, and whatever happens, you’re ready for it.”
Carter Verhaeghe first hit the empty net with 6:42 to go to make it a 5-2 game.
Talbot remained on the bench after the goal was scored.
Marchment’s hat trick goal sealed the deal for the Panthers and sent Talbot retreating back to the crease.
Bobrovsky got his fifth consecutive win with 24 saves.