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FHN Today: Huberdeau milestone comes in Florida Panthers win

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Panthers huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau got a surprise message before Saturday night’s game in Ottawa as Stephen Weiss sent a text congratulating him on becoming the all-time leader in games played with the Florida Panthers.

Huberdeau passed Weiss on Saturday with game No. 655 in a Florida sweater and the most important thing was it came in a victory.

When Weiss passed Radek Dvorak to take the franchise lead in 2012, it came in a tough loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Weiss, as a certain Miami Herald reporter wrote, was in no mood to celebrate the milestone.

The Panthers ended up snapping what was the NHL’s longest postseason drought later that season — and that’s all Weiss cared about.

Huberdeau is the same way. Florida’s comeback win on Saturday night further solidified its hold on the Atlantic Division although the hard-charging Boston Bruins are picking up some serious ground.

The Panthers have a big game tonight in Toronto.

If they win, Huberdeau may get an actual phone call from Weiss for that.

PANTHERLAND

While the Panthers keep piling up the points, there is some real jockeying below them in the Atlantic standings.

The Boston Bruins won again Saturday to take second place in the division (seven points back of the Panthers) with Tampa Bay jumping back into third with an overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings.

Toronto took the early lead against the Montreal Canadiens — but ended up losing 4-2 to stay in fourth in the Atlantic.

Florida has three games left against the Leafs and one each against the Bruins and Lightning.

— With three new players, it was a good time for a road trip. The Panthers even got to take a train ride like they used to back in the day. The three-game roadie ends tonight..

Sam Reinhart accounted for 20 percent of all goals scored by the Buffalo Sabres last season. He was their offense.

Today, he is closing in on having the best offensive season of his career and a big part of that success has to do with all the heavy lifting he doesn’t have to do with the Panthers.

— Looking for a place to watch tonight’s game in Toronto?

Join me at the Inn-Field in Sunrise (Oakland Park just west of Hiatus) for wing specials and more. Sound on so we can all listen to Goldie, Randy and Jessica…

Huberdeau panthers

AROUND THE NHL

Hard to believe, but it has been 25 since the Detroit Red Wings came together against the Colorado Avalanche in the infamous March 26 Fight Night.

All anyone in Detroit really wanted was vengeance for what had occurred during Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference final.

They got it — and Darren McCarty became a Detroit legend.

— Hear from Marc Crawford and Scotty Bowman on that famous night.

— The Panthers will never hand out rubber rats to fans as they walk into the building again — and the Washington Capitals will likely never hand out squishy apples, either. And why would they?

Watch those giveaway rubber apples flood the ice on Saturday after Nicklas Backstrom scored — on the same night he was honored for reaching 1,000 career points. In case you didn’t know, those apples were for him. Get it? Apples?

— Erik Haula, Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand each had two points in a big Boston win over the Isles.

— More on the B’s as Joe Haggerty says Hampus Lindholm is what the Bruins hoped he would be.

— Will the Islanders keep forward Anthony Beauvillier after this season?

— Perhaps the best thing to happen to the Vegas Golden Knights was have Evgenii Dadonov’s trade pulled back. He had another big day for the Knights.

— Vancouver Canucks president of hockey ops Jim Rutherford is back after a two-week fight with Covid.

UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS 

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

  • When: Sunday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto  
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM/SiriusXM
  • Last season: Did not play
  • All-time regular season series: Toronto leads 44-34-5, 7 ties
  • This season: First meeting
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