After line changes made by coach Joel Quenneville, The Florida Panthers are finding success with a new second scoring line.
When the Florida Panthers went on a three game losing streak in their nine game home-stand last week, Coach Q decided enough was enough and pulled out the line blender to shake up his forward lines, and for good reason. During their loosing streak, the Panthers were outscored 9-4 by the opposition.
This included separating the dynamic due of Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. Barkov stayed at the top line while Huberdeau dropped to the 2nd line which had Vincent Trocheck and Noel Acciari who was promoted from the fourth line. I questioned the move at first but under the circumstances of desperation, it made sense. It made even more sense when other Panthers fans, including myself saw it produce three nights in a row with wins against Ottawa, Dallas and Carolina, outscoring the opposition 17-7 over the span of those games.
The success of the line
We already know that Jonathan Huberdeau is an elite forward on the Panthers as he currently leads his team in points with 47 and assists with 34 and is second on the team in goals with 13.
On this new second line, he soared to even new heights. In his last three games being put on this line, he has had 10 points over that span. This includes back-to-back four point nights against the Senators and the Stars. In addition, due to these games, he became the second player in franchise history to hit 400 points. With 13 more points, he’ll tie Olli Jokinen for most in franchise history. With the way this lines been producing, he’ll be there in no time.
Everyone has been talking about this guy. Some fans are even calling him “Gretzky”.
Noel Acciari has been the biggest factor in this line. He has eight points over the span of his last three games since the promotion. Now the big thing that everyone’s been talking about were his back-to-back hat tricks against the Sens and the Stars. Against Dallas, it was the fastest Panther to ever record a hat trick in their history in 3:59. After his second hat trick, he hit a new career high in goals in a season with 11. Who ever thought a 4th liner would be producing this well.
On the campaign, Noel Acciari has 15 points so far. But with his recent success, expect that number to climb.
Vincent Trocheck this season has been struggling and it is not looking good for the player who hit a career high of 71 points only a few seasons ago.
However this line is getting him back on the board. Over the last three games, Trocheck has had three points. I know, the numbers are small compared to everyone else on the line but this shows that its gonna work with him. Before his game against Dallas, he only registered one point in his last seven games. This might be the kick that he needs to get back out there and produce like he could in the past. Granted, his injury last season might be holding him down, but with the right wingers, he just might be able to get the job done.
So far, he has 18 points on the season.
Overall: The line could be the driving factor towards the postseason
This line has been producing dramatic numbers overall. Since the line was created last week, the three players have combined for 21 points. That’s insane considering this is over the course of the last three games.
The Panthers currently sit third in the Atlantic Division with 41 points, trailing for second place by one point. If this second line continues to do damage, then playoffs will be in their future.
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