You know that song called On the Road Again, where it’s all jolly about being on a road trip. Well the Panthers were beyond that level of ecstatic when they went on their most recent road trip. Jonathan Huberdeau played in a city other than Sunrise for the first time during this trip for this season and he put up 3 goals and 3 assists including the overtime game winner against San Jose. Aleksander Barkov; Huberdeau’s linemate had 6 points with 4 goals and 2 assists.
This was the first time in franchise history that the Panthers swept a 5 game road trip. Not only that, but it was the first time in franchise history the Cats swept all 3 California teams on the road in one season after going winless last year in their Golden State swing. A 7-4 dominant win over Nashville was the Cats vengeance for their 6-3 loss against LA to conclude the 4 game homestand they were coming off of. Poor Nashville had to suffer through the revenge of the Cats as the Panthers dominated the game. While Roberto Luongo didn’t have his best game (he said that to reporters too); his offense helped him out. A 6-5 victory battle which saw the Sharks come back and tie the game 3 times in overtime was one of the best games I’ve ever seen. James Reimer who came in relief of Luongo in the final minute of regulation after Luongo suffered cramps; made a fantastic save in overtime. On Friday, the Cats played better defensively. Reimer dominated the Ducks as the Cats offense took a while to get on their feet but mustered a 4-1 victory. A seesaw defensive battle with LA saw an unbelieveable game winner by Barkov who shook off 3 defenders and drew what would’ve been several penalties and put in a great backhander. That was the goal of the trip. While Barkov was the Cats best player in St Louis, Jake Allen kept him off the score sheet in another tight battle. Both goalies played superb. The score was 1-1 when with 4.6 seconds remaining in the third, Trocheck fired a Shea Weber speed of a shot that Allen never saw and won the game.
This was the best road trip in franchise history. Now the Cats will face Connor McDavid and the Oilers tomorrow to open up a 4 game homestand. The Panthers play 8 of their next 10 games at home. The Panthers are in 3rd and are only 4 points out of 1st. There is still time to capture a division crown. My friend Lucas at Rats on the Ice said that during these final 25 games we need to go 15-7-3 at least to guarantee a playoff spot. One victory down; 24 games to go. We just need to finish the year with 14 of the 24 remaining games at friendly territory with a 14-7-3 record. Let’s do this!