Originally written on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 9/24/14
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Not long after the Florida Panthers paid tribute to their past, Jonathan Huberdeau offered a glimpse of their future. Huberdeau's first NHL shot resulted in his first NHL goal and opened an early Florida scoring barrage, as the Panthers unfurled their Southeast Division championship banner and went on to ease past the Carolina Panthers 5-1 in the opener for both clubs on Saturday night. Jose Theodore stopped 41 shots for Florida. Huberdeau finished with a goal and two assists, as did linemate Alex Kovalev, who's played in 1,302 more games than the highly touted rookie forward. Defenseman Bryan Campbell scored twice for the Panthers, who matched a franchise record with four first-period goals -- more than they posted in any period of any game since Dec. 17, 2010. "Huberdeau, for his first NHL game, has been great," said newly minted Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski. The 19-year-old opened the floodgates, for certain. Only a few minutes after the Panthers' pregame ceremony included a tribute to longtime season-ticket-holders and the unfurling of last season's banner, Huberdeau -- the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft -- was the beneficiary of some gritty work by Kovalev and Peter Mueller on the way to that first goal. Kovalev carried the puck up the left wing, muscled it behind the net to Mueller, who saw Huberdeau was unmarked in front of the Hurricanes' net. He smacked the puck past Cam Ward's stick side for the first Florida goal of the season, and the celebrations came en masse for the next few minutes. Campbell -- whose only other two-goal game came in November 2005 -- added a pair of power-play scores over a 10-minute span to push Florida's lead to 3-0. Scottie Upshall had another man-advantage goal 40 seconds after Campbell's second tally, and the Panthers needed only 11 shots to build a 4-0 edge. Kovalev made it 5-0 at 3:35 of the second, his first NHL regular-season goal since March 29, 2011. Patrick Dwyer scored for Carolina. The Hurricanes' starting goaltender Cam Ward was pulled following the first period, after stopping just eight of the 12 shots he faced. It was the Panthers' first time on the ice since falling in a double-overtime Game 7 first-round matchup against eventual Stanley Cup finalist New Jersey last season, and it wasn't clear what effect the lockout would have on a so-called non-traditional hockey market such as Florida. The Panthers said the game was a sellout -- no small feat for hockey in South Florida, especially since the schedule wasn't released until a week before the start to the shortened season -- and team president Michael Yormark said the team's business side handled hockey's work stoppage well. "Coming out of the playoffs, after losing Game 7, granted we were all disappointed that we didn't get to the second round," Yormark said. "But when we had time to reflect, we said, You know what, we took a big step forward.'" With most of last season's roster back -- and the additions of players such as Huberdeau and Kovalev -- the Panthers are hoping last season serves as just the start of a hockey renaissance in South Florida. NOTES: It was Florida's 33rd straight win when scoring five goals in regulation, a streak that began in January 2009. ... Ward has started against Florida 28 times, and allowed at least four goals in eight of those games. ... Florida has won six of its past seven matchups with Carolina, a stretch that includes an overtime and a shootout victory. ... Panthers coach Kevin Dineen is a former Carolina player; Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller is a former Florida player.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

Slava Voynov arrested on D.V. charge, suspended indefinitely

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.