The Huberdeau and Barkov Affect!

With Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov returning back to the ice from their injuries, their big game presence was certainly missed and shown in last night’s game.

Mar 31, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) looks for the puck in the third period of a game against the New Jersey Devils at BB&T Center. The Panthers won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 31, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) looks for the puck in the third period of a game against the New Jersey Devils at BB&T Center. The Panthers won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

As we all know, Jonathan Huberdeau was out with an Achilles tendon injury for about four months. In his absence, we have had to call upon guys such as Jonathan Marchessault to replace him on the starting line. Even though Marchessault did a fantastic job replacing Huberdeau in his absence, it just wasn’t the same without Huberdeau at our disposal.

Coming off last season with a career high of 59 points, this injury really struck Huberdeau at the wrong time. With lots of rehabilitation and rest, we have seen Huberdeau recover fairly well from an injury that could have been career costly. With that being said, It came to my surprise that Jonathan would be available in the lineup for last night’s game. His return was expected to be in early March, and instead surprised all us fans with an early return.

Huberdeau did not skip a beat once in last night’s game. He was all over the ice like a mad man. Whether it was beating his opponent to the puck, laying a big check, or even making plays, Huberdeau did it all last night. In his return to the lineup, Jonathan Huberdeau notched the game winning goal in what would be an important 2-1 win for the Cats. Below is Huberdeau’s beautiful goal, which was assisted by both Yandle and Barkov.

Aleksander Barkov The Workhorse

Dec 28, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) skates before a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 28, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) skates before a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned in the caption above, Panther fans have certainly missed our big workhorse, Aleksander Barkov. Barkov has been a tank for us this year, and has helped us in both zones of the ice. Known for his two way play, Barkov has tallied 28 points (9G, 19A) in 37 games. Minus the injury that sidelined him for a month, we must certainly recognize that Barkov’s numbers would certainly be higher.

Unlike Huberdeau’s case, thankfully we have had Barkov for a good portion of the season. Barkov’s mysterious lower body injury came on December 27th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. There was no immediate answers as to how long Barkov would be out for. As Tom said, “Barkov would be addressed weekly”, with no timetable for return. What impressed me the most with Barkov earlier this year, was the way he adapted to playing with new line mates between games. As injuries hit us hard during the year, the lines were constantly juggled between each game. It never seemed to bother Barkov one bit, as he created immediate chemistry with whomever he was paired to play with.

Below is a little magic in which we have seen from Barkov time and time again in the shootout. Expect more to come from Huberdeau and Barkov in the near future!

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