Thursday, September 29, 2022

Marchment’s first hat trick powers Panthers past Wild 6-2

ST. PAUL, Minn. ( Associated Press) — Mason Marchment scored three goals for his first career hat trick, leading the Florida Panthers to a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.

Anthony Duclair and Aaron Ekblad each had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves for his fifth straight win. Florida has won back-to-back games after a 15-day break and is 16-3-1 since Dec. 29.

“It’s great to have a few days off to regenerate, set your mind, before the most important part of the season,” Bobrovsky said.

Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello scored for Minnesota, which had won six straight at home. The Wild lost in regulation at the Xcel Energy Center for the first time in 15 games dating to Nov. 18. Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

“We didn’t do well in our own zone,” winger Jordan Greenway said. “We gave them too many chances. We gave them too many opportunities.”

Florida leads the league in scoring at 4.14 goals per game, scoring 203 goals in 49 games, including shootout-deciding goals. The last two teams to require less than 50 games in a season to reach that mark were the 2005-06 Senators (48 games) and 1995-96 Penguins (41 games).

Jonathan Huberdeau has set up plenty of those tallies. With two helpers, he has 51 on the season to become the first player in franchise history to register three seasons with 50-plus assists.

He fed Ekblad to make it 4-1 early in the third after his gritty effort set up Duclair midway through the second.

Denied trying to score on a stuff at the left post, Huberdeau outmuscled Alex Goligoski for the puck and fed Duclair for a one-timer from below the right circle for a 3-1 lead. Duclair has 20 goals this season, one of a league-best nine Panthers with double-digit goals.

Marchment scored twice in a 2:27 span of the first period to join that group.

Marchment put a rebound of his own wraparound attempt into the net, then converted a pass from Anton Lundell to make it 2-1. His third goal went into an empty net with 5:27 left.

“I knew there was an empty net and I just tried to fire it down there,” Marchment said. “I don’t know honestly how it got through. It was kind of a muffin, but I saw it get by the D and it was on a good path, so I just wished for the best and it went in. Got to celebrate with the boys.

“It was awesome. I was so close (to a hat trick) the one game there, just to get it tonight is fun.”

That “one game” was a two-goal, four-assist night in Columbus on Jan. 31. Marchment has nine goals and six assists in his past seven games.

“He’s just producing at a surreal number right now and it’s fun to see. The confidence is oozing out of him,” interim coach Andrew Brunette said.

Minnesota entered the game averaging 3.78 goals, third-best in the NHL, and scored first when Kaprizov redirected a slap pass from Jared Spurgeon for his 50th career goal.

Playing in his 100th game, Kaprizov has 112 career points — including 13 goals and 29 points in his last 17 games. The last player to score more than 110 points in his first 100 NHL games was Evgeni Malkin (114) in 2006-07.

“Our start was great,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Our energy level was great. The way we competed, how we were playing the game. We turned the puck over and another mistake on the second one and third. Then it snowballed on us.”

NOTES: Zuccarello assisted on Kaprizov’s goal and has multi-point games in 10 of his past 13 outings. … Florida C Noel Acciari made his season debut. He suffered a pectoral injury in the preseason that required surgery. … Wild C Nick Bjugstad (upper body) was activated from injured reserve, but did not play. D Matt Dumba (lower body) was placed on IR and C Victor Rask was placed on waivers.


Panthers: End a three-game road trip Sunday in Chicago.

Wild: At Edmonton on Sunday, the first of four straight games in Canada.


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