Watch CBS News

Panthers Send Three Players, Head Coach To NHL All-Star Game

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers are on pace for the most successful regular season in the franchise's history.

One game away from the halfway point, Florida (24-12-4) sits atop the Atlantic Division with 52 points.

They hold a five point lead over second place Detroit and Montreal, who both have 47 points.

It's been quite a turnaround for the Panthers, who trailed Montreal by 16 points on Thanksgiving.

Florida has been the talk of the league for the past couple weeks thanks to an NHL-best 10-game winning streak, the longest the league has seen in two seasons.

On Wednesday the NHL announced the full rosters for its annual All-Star Game, which takes place on Sunday, January 31st in Nashville.

Needless to say, the Panthers will be well represented.

Leading scorer Jaromir Jagr was named the captain of the Atlantic Division team on Saturday.

He'll be joined on the ice by defenseman Aaron Ekblad and goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Additionally, thanks to the Panthers being in first place in the division at the halfway point of the season, head coach Gerard Gallant will be behind the bench running the Atlantic Division squad.

Florida's four representatives at the All-Star Game are the most in franchise history.

Jagr is having a season for the ages, both literally and figuratively. He leads the Panthers with 14 goals and 29 points, making it no surprise that he led the division in All-Star voting which led to his captaincy.

This will be Jagr's tenth All-Star Game appearance.

Ekblad will be playing in his second All-Star game in just his second NHL season. Last year's Calder Trophy winner as the NHL's rookie of the year leads all Florida defensemen in scoring with nine goals and 18 points.

He also leads the team with a plus-16 on-ice rating and in shots on goal with 99.

Luongo is having one of the best seasons of his long career and has entered the discussion for the Vezina Trophy, handed out to the league's top goaltender.

He holds a 18-11-3 record to go with his 2.06 goals against average and .930 save percentage, all of which have him amongst the league leaders.

For goalies with at least 15 games played, the 36-year-old netminder ranks tied for fourth in goals against average, fifth in save percentage and tied for fourth in wins.

Luongo's three shutouts are good for a tie for sixth in the category. He'll be playing in his fifth All-Star game and second in a row.

In his first season behind the Panthers bench, Gallant turned the Cats into the NHL's most improved team. He took them from just 66 points the year before he arrived to a 91-point total last season.

So far in 2015-16 Gallant has Florida on pace for its most successful season ever.  The Panthers have never cracked the 100-point plateau but they're currently on pace for 107.

Gallant becomes just the second Panthers head coach to represent the team at the All-Star game, joining his longtime friend Doug MacLean who did it in 1996 and 1997.

The Panthers face the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, January 7th at 7:30 p.m. You can hear every game on Sports Radio 560 WQAM, the radio home of the Florida Panthers.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.