Jonathan Huberdeau has his name littered throughout the Florida Panthers record book.
Saturday night, he added to that by becoming the franchise’s leader in power play goals Florida’s 4-2 victory over the host Philadelphia Flyers.
However, it was his second career shorthanded goal that ultimately gave Florida the win.
When asked how he ended up playing on the Panthers’ penalty kill, Huberdeau jokingly said he didn’t know — but it has definitely been working.
Huberdeau had 2:23 of shorthanded time in a game where the team went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
“All year long, we started him and [Sam Bennett] on the second rotation,” Joel Quenneville said. “They’re getting comfortable with one another, they’re a threat to score on the turnover, but I still think they’re pressuring points, they’re aware of taking away passing and seams in the defensive zone.”
That was exactly what happened on the winning goal, as Keith Yandle coughed the puck up on a point-to-point pass to no one, which Bennett picked up and sent to Huberdeau.
Huberdeau’s first shot attempt on the backhand was stopped by Carter Hart, but Huberdeau was able to find the rebound behind the net and bank it off of the goaltender to give Florida the lead.
“He made a toe save on me on the backhand and the puck came to me behind the net and I tried to bank it off his pad,” Huberdeau said. “It worked out, it was a huge goal for us, obviously. It turned 2-2 into 3-2 and I think sometimes you get some bounces.”
Huberdeau’s penalty kill time against the Flyers isn’t an anomaly — he ranks third among Panthers forwards with 14:46 of shorthanded ice time.
“I think this year, I’ve been trying to focus defensively and playing on the penalty kill,” Huberdeau said. “I take some pride in that and that’s how you’re going to get to the playoffs. You gotta win some games, that’s what we want to do and offensively, I’d rather have less points and make the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup than having over 100 points and not doing anything.”
Huberdeau has been contributing to a great Panthers’ penalty kill, which ranks 11th in the NHL (84.6%) despite taking a league-high 26 penalties through their first five games.
Florida has killed off the most penalties in the league (22) while their four power play goals against ranks as the 18th-least in the league.
“I love it, it’s good to get compliments from Q,” Huberdeau said of his recent success on the penalty kill.
“I play on the power play, so on the penalty kill you have that read, it’s easier for me, but it’s been working, hopefully, it can keep working like that.”
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
ARIZONA COYOTES AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Monday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560-AM
- 2021 regular season series: Did not play