With the arrival of new owner Vincent Viola and recent roster additions such as goaltender Tim Thomas, it’s hard to imagine that Panthers’ fans could get more excited for the upcoming season. However, before the puck drops in Dallas on Thursday for the team’s season opener, lets take a moment to look back at some of the biggest events of the Panthers’ 2012-2013 campaign.
While the teams eventual fall to 15th place in the Eastern Conference may be worth forgetting, there were several “wow” moments from last season that are definitely worth revisiting. Although the team could not find sustained success last season, it’s plays like the ones listed below that gave fans a glimpse into the future and what the Panthers may become someday.
Huberdeau Starts His Career With a Bang!
In front of a sellout crowd at the BB&T Center, Jonathan Huberdeau scores not only the first Panthers’ goal of the 2012-2013 season, but also the first of his hopefully stellar career.
Huberdeau Bests Ilya Bryzgalov … Twice!
Still unsigned by any NHL team, former Philadelphia Flyers’ goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov might spend the entire upcoming season at home trying to figure out how to stop Jonathan Huberdeau.
Jacob Markstrom Saves The Day
Although Jacob Markstrom’s 3.22 GAA last season leaves a lot to be desired, these two beautiful saves gave fans a sneak peak at just what kind of goaltender the Panthers could have in the future.
Tomas Kopecky’s Hat Trick
Possibly the Panthers’ MVP during their forgettable 2012-2013 campaign, forward Tomas Kopecky was rewarded for his consistent efforts when he earned his first career hat trick against the Pittsburgh Penguins last February.
T.J. Brennan Helps Stephen Gionta Off The Bench
While the jury is still out on whether this act was terrible or hilarious, the image of defenseman T.J. Brennan “helping” New Jersey Devils’ forward Stephen Gionta out of the Panthers’ bench is certainly a lasting one.
George Parros Takes on Radko Gudas
After injuring Panthers’ forward Kris Versteeg earlier in the season, Tampa Bay Lightning enforcer Radko Gudas finally gets his comeuppance at the hands of George Parros.
Dmitry Kulikov’s Overtime Heroics
Dmitry Kulikov’s first goal of the 2012-2013 season certainly was a memorable one, an overtime blast to give to the Panthers a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Shawn Matthias Dominates March
During an overall outstanding month of March, Panthers’ forward Shawn Matthias found his way to ESPN and sports channels around the world for these two spectacular goals in particular. In fact, his “hustle goal” against the Boston Bruins earned him an ESPY nomination for play of the year.
Panthers End 2012-2013 Season On A High Note
It’s hard to imagine the Panthers’ 2012-2013 could have ended any better than their 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jonathan Huberdeau solidified his Calder Trophy case by notching three assists and fellow rookie forward Nick Bjugstad earned his first career NHL goal.
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