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Panthers score four goals to surge past Devils

Mar 18, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA;  New Jersey Devils goaltender Akira Schmid (40) makes a save on a shot by Florida Panthers left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) in the second period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Reinhart scored twice in a four-goal, third-period comeback as the host Florida Panthers claimed a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk also scored for the Panthers (35-27-7, 77 points), who have won two straight games and are on a 5-0-1 run that has them just outside a playoff position.

Brandon Montour and Carter Verhaeghe both collected a pair of assists and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves.

Nico Hischier and Jesper Boqvist replied for the Devils (44-18-7, 95 points), who have dropped three consecutive games and sit second in the Metropolitan Division. Goalie Akira Schmid stopped 37 shots.

Trailing by a 2-0 count heading into the final frame, the Panthers — who scored nine goals in Thursday’s win over Montreal — conjured a trio of goals in a 2:30 span to take the lead.

Barkov started the comeback with his 18th goal of the season at 6:14 of the period. Montour’s point shot hit Marc Staal, who was in front of the net, and Barkov pounced on the loose puck to give him two goals and 10 points in a six-game point streak.

Reinhart tied the game 100 seconds later by deflecting Montour’s point shot to give him goals in four consecutive games.

Then Tkachuk notched his 32nd of the campaign 50 seconds after that when Verhaeghe spotted him alone in the slot and Tkachuk buried the chance. He has collected four goals and 11 points in a four-game point streak.

Reinhart added an empty-net goal, his 26th goal of the season, to round out the scoring.

Despite being outshot by a 16-3 edge over the first 15 minutes of the game, the Devils staked a two-goal lead in the second period. Hischier’s short-handed goal 2:16 into the middle period, his 29th goal of the season, opened the scoring.

Boqvist doubled the lead at 7:43 of the period when he finished a wild flurry. Bobrovsky made a couple of saves but was without his stick — and with Staal in his crease after blocking a shot — when Boqvist found the mark from the left circle for his eighth goal of the season.

–Field Level Media