Ducks don't have enough answers in Florida, fall to Panthers, 2-1
The Florida Panthers are happy to have two of their top players back.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored in his first game of the season and Aleksander Barkov had an assist on that goal to lift the Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the Ducks on Friday night.
Huberdeau’s goal during 4-on-4 play with 4:58 left in the second period broke a 1-1 tie. Barkov, who missed the previous 15 games with a back injury, passed from the left circle across to Huberdeau in the slot and he shot the puck high into the net, beating John Gibson.
“I had a lot of fun out there,” Huberdeau said. “I felt a little tired there at the end, but for the first game I’m pretty happy with myself and the team.”
Huberdeau had been out all season following surgery to repair an Achilles’ tendon injury sustained Oct. 8 in the final preseason game against New Jersey. It was his first goal since April 9 last year.
“When you miss like four months of playing, your first goal, it’s always special, and that’s what it was tonight,” Huberdeau said.
Huberdeau had a career-high 20 goals and 59 points last season.
Reilly Smith also scored for the Panthers.
James Reimer stopped 22 shots to earn his 100th career win.
“We had our big guys with pucks on their stick in some critical situations,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. “Couldn’t find the back of the net.”
Only Hampus Lindholm scored for Anaheim, and Gibson made 35 saves.
“He has been real solid, you can’t deny that,” Carlyle said. “In a game like tonight, we wasted a strong performance from our goaltender. When you only score one goal, you can’t give up any. We gave up two.”
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