CALGARY — Mike Matheson scored twice and Aleksander Barkov had a goal and two assists on Saturday night to lead the Florida Panthers to a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
The beneficiary of all that offence was goaltender Roberto Luongo. In his first appearance since suffering a groin injury on Dec. 4, the 38-year-old made 30 saves for his first win since Nov. 27.
Evgenii Dadonov and Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist each for Florida (26-23-6). Jared McCann also scored as the Panthers win their fifth straight game on the road. They continue their current five-game road trip in Winnipeg on Sunday.
Thanks to seven wins in their last eight games, Florida has moved to within six points of the New York Islanders, who hold down the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Dougie Hamilton with his first career hat-trick supplied all the offence for Calgary (30-21-8). The NHL's second-best team on the road (17-7-5), the Flames' woes on home ice continue where they're winless in their last six (0-3-3) and fall to 13-14-3 on the season.
Tied 1-1 after the first period, Florida blew the game open in the second with three goals in the opening seven minutes.
The decisive blows were back-to-back power-play goals just over two minutes apart.
At 58 seconds, Trocheck completed a nifty give-and-go with Barkov by slipping a shot past rookie goaltender David Rittich.
At 3:09 with Barkov providing the screen, Dadonov deflected Keith Yandle's shot past the 25-year-old Czech.
On the final shot Rittich would face before being pulled, Barkov made it 4-1, redirecting Dadonov's shot between the goaltender's pads at 6:03.
Making his third consecutive start in the absence of injured starter Mike Smith (lower body), Rittich left the game with 11 stops on 15 shots. He was replaced by another rookie in Jon Gillies, who was beaten twice on 15 shots.
Calgary got a goal back at 12:15 of the second on Hamilton's second power-play goal of the night, but Florida restored its three-goal cushion at 1:09 of the third when Matheson added his second of the night.
Down 6-2, Hamilton capped off the scoring at 11:55 when he banked in a shot from the corner off the leg of Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad.
Notes: It was Rittich's first start at home. His previous nine starts all came on the road... Smith skated before his team's game-day skate Saturday morning, but he didn't face any shots. His status remains day-to-day... Hamilton played in his 400th NHL game... Johnny Gaudreau's eight-game scoring streak (4-7-11) was snapped... Ekblad extended his point-streak to six games (3-5-8).