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Short-handed Panthers get by Wild, 5-3

Nov 20, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) shoots the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers, down to their third-string goalie and just four healthy defensemen for much of the game, got 29 saves from Alex Lyon to defeat the visiting Minnesota Wild 5-3 on Saturday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Anton Lundell, Eetu Luostarinen, Carter Verhaeghe, Gustav Forsling and Sam Reinhart scored for the Panthers.

Florida, which scored in the final 30 seconds of the first and second periods, improved to 7-2-1 in its past 10 games.

Lyon made just his 16th NHL start and first for the Panthers. He has consecutive wins for the first time in five years.

Minnesota got power-play goals from Matt Boldy and Joel Eriksson Ek. Jared Spurgeon scored after Minnesota pulled its goalie. Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov added two assists each. Boldy had one helper. Goalie Filip Gustavsson made 22 saves.

Florida was without several injured players, including its top two goalies, Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight. The Panthers also played without forward Eric Staal, who, like Bobrovsky, was injured in Florida’s previous game.

The Panthers then lost a pair of standout defensemen during the game. Aaron Ekblad was injured in the first period and Forsling was lost in the second. Forsling, however, returned in the third. In addition, forward Sam Bennett was lost to injury in the first period.

Florida opened the scoring with 12.9 seconds left in the first period. Reinhart stole the puck, and Aleksander Barkov passed ahead to Lundell, who scored five-hole.

The Panthers made it 2-0 just 100 seconds into the second. Luostarinen worked a steal from Sam Steel and then lofted in a backhander.

Minnesota made it 2-1 after Verhaeghe’s slash on Spurgeon led to Boldy’s goal with 11:04 remaining in the second. Kaprizov got the secondary assist, and Eriksson Ek earned the primary with a sweet lateral dish to set up Boldy.

However, Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman was penalized for roughing and the Panthers converted on Verhaeghe’s power-play goal with 28 seconds left in the second.

Minnesota cut its deficit to 3-2 with 15:23 left in the third as Eriksson Ek rebounded in a shot by Kaprizov.

Florida restored its two-goal lead on Forsling’s knuckler from the left circle with 12:09 remaining.

Spurgeon’s 6-on-5 goal with 1:26 left cut Minnesota’s deficit to 4-3. But Reinhart’s empty-netter with 40 seconds left iced the game.

–Field Level Media