SUNRISE (CBSMiami/AP) — One of the biggest issues with the Florida Panthers in recent years is scoring goals.
The Panthers and their fans hope the season opener is a sign of good things to come.
Jaromir Jagr and Reilly Smith each scored twice and Vincent Trocheck had a goal and three assists as the Panthers dominated the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1 on Saturday night.
Nick Bjugstad and Jussi Jokinen also scored goals for Florida and Roberto Luongo made 38 saves.
The 43-year-old Jagr is the NHL’s all-time leader in opening day points with 39 on 13 goals and 26 assists.
“It was very special. That’s the start everyone’s looking for, every game,” Jagr said. “We got good bounces, scored four goals, the momentum was on our side.”
Those four goals on eight shots against Steve Mason in the first 6:46 were a modern NHL record for the fastest four goals to start a season, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Michal Neuvirth replaced Mason after the fourth goal and made 19 saves. Mark Streit scored the goal for the Flyers, who lost their second straight.
“It should leave a pretty sour taste for everybody,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “When you give up a goal early in each period, you dig a pretty deep hole.”
Leading 4-0, his goal from the slot 33 seconds into the second period put the Panthers ahead 5-0. His second came 41 seconds into the third when he tipped in a rebound to make the score 6-1. Jagr now has 724 career goals, only seven away from tying Marcel Dionne (731) for fourth all-time.
Smith’s second goal came during a 5-on-3 power play at 7:55 of the third to make it 7-1.
“It couldn’t have gone better. A big win for us,” Smith said. “The main thing right now is to move on. At the end of the day, it’s just one game. There’s 81 more. Definitely we can build on it.”
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on Trocheck’s goal 1:23 in. Jokinen shot from center ice and Mason blocked it, but Trocheck grabbed the rebound and poked it in.
Florida scored two power-play goals in 51 seconds to make the score 3-0. Bjugstad’s shot from the left circle got past Mason’s glove at 4:55 and Smith scored from in front at 5:46.
A gaffe by Mason led to the Panthers fourth goal. The goalie attempted to clear the puck from behind the net but it went right to Trocheck in the right circle. Trocheck’s shot was blocked, but Jokinen tipped in the rebound to make the score 4-0, chasing Mason.
“There’s nobody to put this game on but myself. I take full responsibility,” Mason said. “I put everyone behind the eight ball and am disappointed.”
The Panthers lost four of their first five games to start last season.
“We came out to a little bit of a slow start last year and it affected us late in the year, so we know how big those first games are,” Trocheck said.
Notes: Luongo is 4-1-0 in his last five games against Philadelphia. Luongo took a stick to the head late in the third period from teammate Willie Mitchell, but stayed in the game … Panthers F Rocco Grimaldi, who opened the season on the injured list, skated Friday for the first time since injuring an ankle in a preseason game against Dallas three weeks ago … The Flyers have lost 21 of their last 25 road games.
The Panthers head north to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, October 12th at 7 p.m. You can hear every game on Sports Radio 560 WQAM, the radio home of the Florida Panthers.
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