Panthers score seven goals, combine with Canadiens for 10 in record-setting first period

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers have had a tradition in their last few, high-octane seasons: Every time they score their fifth goal, the sweet sounds of Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5” wash over FLA Live Arena to celebrate a surprisingly common feat.

On Thursday, Bega’s No. 1 hit played with 9:27 still left in the first period and the scoring didn’t stop. A few minutes later, the Panthers set a franchise record for most goals in a period and teamed up with the Montreal Canadiens for the NHL’s highest-scoring period since the high-scoring 1980s. They’d go on to rout the Canadiens, 9-5.

When the final whistle blew on the first period and both teams headed back to their locker rooms for the first intermission, Florida led 7-3. It was only the 10th time in NHL history two teams combined for at least 10 goals in a period and the first since the Blackhawks and Blues did it in 1988.

It was also only the second time in Panthers history with more than five goals in a period. The previous franchise record for goals in a period was six, set against the Bruins in 2000.

Despite its seven-goal period, Florida only had three players with multiple points: forward Carter Verhaeghe with two goals, and All-Star right wing Matthew Tkachuk and defenseman Josh Mahura each with two assists.

The period started wacky. It took just 16 seconds for last-place Montreal to beat star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with a snipe from the point — from former Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson, of all people — and Florida was in the lead all of 3:01 later after goals by forwards Colin White and Verhaeghe just 34 seconds apart.

From there, the Panthers and Canadiens traded goals until it was knotted at three with 11:42 still left in the first. Bobrovsky still hadn’t made a save — he allowed three goals on the first three shots he faced — and the crowd erupted for him when he covered up a bouncing puck with 8:05 left in the period.

The goalie, however, wasn’t technically credited with a save until he made a stop with 7:49 left in the opening period. Nine seconds later, Sam Reinhart scored Florida’s record-tying sixth goal to put the Panthers up by three and Verhaeghe gave them the record less than a minute later when he scored with 6:42 left in the first.

With 10 goals in just 13:18, Florida and Montreal were the fastest ever to 10 combined goals.

Although they were within striking distance for the NHL record of 12 combined goals in a period, the Panthers and Canadiens didn’t score for the rest of the period and settled for just tying the league record for most combined goals in a first period.

Florida finished the period with 18 shots, 13 scoring chances and eight high-danger chances.

It did, however, go 0 for 1 on the power play.

© Miami Herald