Frank Vatrano had two goals and an assist, and the Florida Panthers extended their home winning streak to start the season to 10 games with a 5-4 win against the visiting Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Aaron Ekblad had two assists and Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves for the Panthers, who have at least four goals in every home game this season.
For the Wild, Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist, and Cam Talbot made 32 saves.
Owen Tippett put the Panthers ahead 1-0 at 17:45 of the first period. Aaron Ekblad drove up the middle and was sandwiched as he tried to split the Minnesota defense but got a pass over as he fell to a trailing Tippett, who cut to the net and lifted a backhand shot stick side.
Vatrano made it 2-0 at 8:23 of the second period, driving down the left wing on a 2-on-1 and firing a wrist shot top shelf from the left circle.
Minnesota capitalized on the power play to cut it to 2-1. With Bobrovsky without a stick, Mats Zuccarello fed Joel Eriksson Ek in front at 11:46.
Vatrano swept in the rebound of defenseman Gustav Forsling’s shot at the side of the net to make it 3-1 at 14:50.
Kaprizov narrowed Florida’s lead to 3-2 at 1:55 of the third period, getting behind the Panthers’ defense before going far side on Bobrovsky from the right circle.
With Dmitry Kulikov draped on him, Carter Verhaeghe cut around the Wild defenseman and scored from the low slot to push the lead to 4-2 at 5:42.
Huberdeau scored shorthanded at 9:31 to extend it to 5-2, but the goal was overturned after Minnesota challenged for offside.
Marcus Foligno cleaned up a rebound in the crease to cut the Wild’s deficit to 4-3 with 46 seconds remaining.
Sam Bennett scored into an empty net with 37 seconds left to make it 5-3. Ryan Hartman deflected a shot to make it 5-4 Panthers with nine seconds left.
Wild captain Jared Spurgeon left the game with a lower-body injury midway through the first period and did not return. His status for Sunday’s game at the Tampa Bay Lightning isn’t clear.
–Field Level Media