Florida Panthers’ Three Stars: March

The Florida Panthers used the month of March to revitalize their season and attempt to climb out of the cellar of the Eastern Conference. Although the team does remain in last place in the East, their inspired play during this past month gave their fans something to cheer about in an otherwise forgettable year. The Panthers’ fought and clawed their way to a 5-10-1 record during the month of March, including winning 4 of their last 7 games.

In a month in which they saw some improvement, three players in particular helped lead the Panthers on most nights and it’s time that we reward them for their contributions.

Here are the Florida Panthers’ three stars for the month of March!

Third Star: Jacob Markstrom

After struggling in his first few starts this season, goaltender Jacob Markstrom has settled down and become the Panthers’ number one goaltender heading into the last month of the season. During the month of March, Markstrom compiled a 5-5-1 record – with his 5 victories being only 1 shy of teammates Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen’s combined season total.

The one word that could be used to describe Markstrom’s month is consistency. In his 11 starts this month, Markstrom only allowed more than 3 goals to be scored in 2 games and gave the Panthers a great chance to win every night. Overall, Markstrom allowed 26 goals over his 11 March starts and saved 297 of 323 shots faced – good enough for a .920 save percentage.

Markstrom’s biggest game during the month came in the Panthers 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on March 21st. Markstrom stopped an astounding 44 of 45 Rangers’ shots and finished the night with a 1.00 GAA / .978 SV%.

Highlight Clip From March:

Second Star: Jonathan Huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau continues to look not only like a Calder Trophy candidate, but also as the future star of the franchise as he completed another impressive month in his young NHL career.

During the month of March Huberdeau scored an impressive 12 points (5G 7A) and moved into the team’s overall point lead with 25 (12G 13A) total points. Even though he suffered through a 9-game goal drought during the month of March, Huberdeau still found other ways to contribute to the team and eventually found a way to break out of his slump.

The good news for Panthers’ fans is that Huberdeau got progressively hotter near the tail end of the month. In the final 3 games of March, Huberdeau scored 5 points (1G 4A) and is prepped to end the season on a very high note.

Huberdeau’s biggest game during the month came when he ended his 9-game goal drought on March 28th against the Buffalo Sabres. Huberdeau not only scored the game-tying goal in the 3rd period, but also a crucial shootout goal to help earn the Panthers a much needed victory.

Highlight Clip From March:

First Star: Shawn Matthias

After beginning the month with his future in Florida possibly in question, forward Shawn Matthias has played his way from trade bait to un-tradable solely through his amazing efforts on the ice during the month of March.

Matthias has become a human highlight reel for the Panthers as his outstanding effort continues to lead to clutch and quality goals. In fact, Matthias’ 11 goals during the month of March were the most goals scored by a Panther in a single month since the “Russian Rocket”, Pavel Bure.

Overall, Matthias scored an imposing 13 total points during the month of March – a stat made even more amazing by the fact that he only compiled 4 points during the month of February.

Heading into the last month of the season and with the playoffs out of reach, Panthers’ fans will look to Matthias to not only keep them entertained, but also to help keep every game respectable. One thing is for sure, although he may not be able to maintain his current pace, Shawn Matthias has earned his right to remain a Florida Panther.

Highlight Clip From March:

Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts on the Panthers’ roller coaster of a month in the comments section below!

Follow All Panther Parkway writers on Twitter: Me @JamesonCoop, Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, Josh Luecht @eyesonsunrise, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530 and David Lasseter @davidlasseter. Visit our Facebook fan page here and give us a like and share anything you wish with us.

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