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Second-period surge lifts Panthers over Canucks

Jan 14, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Vancouver Canucks right wing Conor Garland (8) and Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) battle for the puck during the first period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers scored three unanswered second-period goals, rallying for a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Ryan Lomberg, Eric Staal, Aaron Ekblad and Aleksander Barkov each scored one goal for Florida. Ekblad also had one assist.

Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk had an assist to extend his point streak to six games. He has five goals and five assists during that span.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 35 saves, survived a shaky start to earn the victory.

Jack Studnicka, Tyler Myers and Elias Pettersson scored for the Canucks, who got 30 saves from Spencer Martin. Pettersson also had one assist.

Canucks forward Bo Horvat, who entered the game tied for fourth in the NHL with 29 goals, was kept off the scoresheet.

The Canucks, who have lost six straight road games, opened the scoring just 1:35 into the first period on a soft goal allowed by Bobrovsky. Florida’s Nick Cousins failed to clear the puck, and Studnicka flipped a knuckler from well above the left circle that fluttered over Bobrovsky’s glove. Studnicka reacted to the goal with a shrug of his shoulders.

Florida tied the score with 8:58 expired in the first as the Panthers’ fourth line of Givani Smith, Lomberg and Colin White hustled their way to the goal. Defenseman Gustav Forsling fired from above the left circle, Smith got a deflection in front of the net and Lomberg tapped in the wide-open rebound.

Vancouver took a 2-1 lead on another soft goal, this time by Myers, who scored just 39 seconds into the second period. Myers shot from beyond the right circle, and the puck slipped under Bobrovsky’s glove. It was Myers’ first goal since Feb. 27, 2022.

Florida, however, dominated the rest of the period as Staal deflected in a long shot from Josh Mahura, Ekblad scored on a one-timer from the left circle, firing the puck just inside the near post and Barkov got his goal on a no-look pass from Sam Reinhart.

Vancouver cut its deficit to 4-3 on a goal credited to Pettersson that actually deflected in off the stick of Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas with 9:58 left in the third.

–Field Level Media