Panthers' Yandle: Scoring after near-healthy scratch was 'special'
Eliot J. Schechter / National Hockey League / Getty

The emotion in Keith Yandle's emphatic goal celebration Sunday showed it was no ordinary tally.

Yes, it was the 100th career goal for the Florida Panthers defenseman, but he admitted he wasn't even aware of the milestone until he got back to the bench. The tally clearly meant a lot to Yandle, who had his ironman streak put in jeopardy this week when the team initially planned to have him serve as a healthy scratch before changing course.

"Anytime I score I'm pretty excited, but it was definitely a special one," Yandle said postgame, according to Fox Sports. "Seeing the guys and how excited they were for me definitely meant a lot."

Here's a look at Yandle's goal and the celebration that followed:

Yandle added that it was a relief when he was told he was going to play.

"Anytime you get to put on an NHL jersey and be able to represent your team is a special thing," he said.

A report initially surfaced Tuesday that Yandle had fallen out of favor with the Panthers and would eventually be a healthy scratch. Head coach Joel Quenneville confirmed three days later that the veteran blue-liner wasn't expected to play, but he then changed his mind prior to Sunday's contest.

"I was happy for him," Quenneville said postgame, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "And the bench was lit up as well. It's one of those moments where you look back at it and you can have a big smile."

Yandle's run of consecutive games played now sits at 867, which is the longest active streak in the league and the fourth-longest of all time.

Rank Player GP Streak
1 Doug Jarvis 964
2 Garry Unger 914
3 Steve Larmer 884
4 Keith Yandle 867

The 34-year-old has three years remaining on his contract, which carries an annual cap hit of $6.35 million and includes a full no-movement clause. He's one of the league's most productive offensive defensemen, ranking fifth among blue-liners in points over the last three years. He's drawn criticism for his defensive play, though.

However, the Panthers produced 58.9% of the expected goals while Yandle was on the ice at five-on-five during Florida's 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks - the best among the team's defensemen, according to Natural Stat Trick.

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Panthers' Yandle: Scoring after near-healthy scratch was 'special'
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