Sunday, January 20, 2013

What A Debut

What a night for Jonathan Huberdeau.

The former (it’s probably safe to call him former now) Saint John Sea Dogs captain was named first star in his first National Hockey League game. Huberdeau scored and added two assists as he helped the Florida Panthers defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 on opening night in Sunrise.

Huberdeau needed just 3:37 to score his first NHL goal.

Huberdeau also assisted on Scottie Upshall’s goal at 17:27 of the first to make it 4-0 Panthers. The Florida rookie headed into intermission with a goal, an assist, five shots, and 5:17 of ice time. He also took a holding penalty.

At 3:35 of the second, he helped set up an Alex Kovalev goal. The second line of Huberdeau, Kovalev, and Peter Mueller was solid all game.

Huberdeau finished the game with a goal, two assists, a +2 rating, two penalty minutes, five shots, two hits, a 100% faceoff percentage, and was on the ice for 14:25. Not bad for a pro debut.

Yann Sauve, Simon Despres, and Mike Hoffman are the only other Sea Dogs players to ever play in a NHL game. Of those players, only Despres has recorded a point.

Up next for the Panthers is a Monday visit to Ottawa to take on the Senators.

Elsewhere, Despres helped the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. He had one hit, two penalty minutes, and 10:26 of ice time.

Also, Gerard Gallant made his return to the NHL coaching ranks. His Montreal Canadiens last 2-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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