Vladimir Tarasenko scores first 2 goals as a Panther, Florida beats Calgary 5-1



Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first two goals as a Panther and Florida beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Saturday.

Tarasenko, acquired by the Panthers from the Ottawa Senators in a trade Wednesday, scored his first by stealing Jonathan Huberdeau’s pass with a long reach of his stick and firing the puck past Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom with a quick wrist shot 23 seconds into the second period. He celebrated with a jubilant one-knee fist pump.

“I’m not gonna lie, it’s nice,” Tarasenko said. “It’s a relief. It’s nice to understand your linemates more, the system and how the team plays and I felt (more) comfortable as the game goes on and I’m not gonna lie, it feels nice.”

Tarasenko, who also had an assist, scored his second goal late in the second period.

“I think everyone knows how special of a player he is,” said Aleksander Barkov, who was assisted by Tarasenko on his second-period goal that gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

“He has been in the league for (13) years now and every year he’s been one of the highest goal scorers. He makes plays, he scores goals, he has an unreal shot. So to have that type of guy on the ice is always dangerous and I like playing with him. So I’m trying to get the puck to him and trying to get open.”

Sam Bennett and Kevin Stenlund also scored for Florida while Anthony Stolarz made 34 saves.

The Panthers have won 17 of their past 20 games and have an NHL-leading 92 points, one more than the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks. The Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Saturday while Vancouver beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-0.

Yegor Sharangovich scored for the Flames and Markstrom made 26 saves.


“I thought we turned the puck over too much,” Flames captain Mikael Backlund said. “They are a highly-skilled team and they are good on the transition. We kind of got away from our game in the second when we started turning pucks over.”

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (672) passed current Flames forward Huberdeau (671) for second place in games played in Panthers franchise history.

Ekblad left the game with a leg injury after colliding with Tarasenko late in the first period and did not return.

Florida forward Evan Rodrigues left the game after blocking a slap shot with his ankle late in the second period and also did not return.

Coach Paul Maurice did not have an update on either player, stating that both need to be evaluated on Sunday. An update will be provided after the team practices on Monday.

Newly acquired Panthers forward Kyle Okposo did not play after getting traded to Florida from Buffalo on Friday.


Flames: Play at Carolina on Sunday.

Panthers: At Dallas on Tuesday night.


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