Panthers offense erupts for record-setting first period against Habs

Defense and goaltending were optional in the Florida Panthers9-5 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. 

The Panthers and Canadiens combined for 10 first-period goals, tying an NHL record. Unfortunately, the Habs fell victim to an early record-setting offensive onslaught, giving up seven of those 10 goals to the Panthers. 

According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Panthers are the first team to net seven or more goals in the first period of a game since the Hartford Whalers in 1985, who, oddly enough, accomplished the feat against the Canadiens. Florida came only two goals short of tying the NHL record of nine goals. 

Per Sportsnet Stats, the Panthers became the second-fastest team to score seven goals in a first period, 1:16 slower than the 1951 Canadiens, who set the mark (11:12) against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

The Panthers had 15 players record points Thursday night, with five players finishing with multi-point outings. 

Matthew Tkachuk led the way with four points, tallying a goal and three assists. Meanwhile, Carter Verhaeghe and Aaron Ekblad both registered two goals apiece. 

Thursday’s win was massive in more than one way for the Panthers.  

Florida has recorded points in their last five outings (4-0-1), improving to 34-27-7 to keep pace for one of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers remain three points back of the New York Islanders (35-27-8) and Pittsburgh Penguins (34-24-10), who lead the wild card race with 78 points.

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