2 Blueliners Join Panthers' 4th Line, Lead Florida to Victory
They called it the helicopter line.
As in no wings.
With the Florida Panthers in hot pursuit of a playoff spot -- and it's never too early for these dudes to be zeroing in on one -- coach Joel Quenneville was looking for something to snap his club outta a pesky four-game losing skid.
He ultimately decided on a twist that was true to his defenseman's roots.
How could any old-time hockey aficionado not get a tear in his eye at the sight of four d-men on the ice at the same time?
Maybe Quenneville was thinking more of this grouping becoming an ultra-grinder line, but instead -- or maybe he had a feeling -- he'd unleashed a scoring machine in the Panthers' 5-3 victory over the Devils.
The helicopter line racked up nine points altogether in amazing unison ...
- First Star: Matheson with 1 G 2 A
- Second Star: Pysyk with 1 G 2 A
- Third Star: Acciari with 1 G 2 A
It's not like this is a total surprise based on an OG's hunch with a hint of yearning for yesteryear.
Perhaps their scoring is just icing on the cake. Quenneville's primary intention is that they serve as ultra-grinders. When incessant forechecking and puck possession come together, rewards ensue.
Dual-role assignments feature blueliners more often than not for the simple fact that their skating skills are usually more well-rounded.
While Pysyk has had time to acclimate, Matheson hasn't. This was his first time playing up front. He'd been a healthy scratch the game before in Philadelphia, so maybe he had extra incentive to give this opportunity a balls-to-the-wall approach.