For the second straight game the Florida Panthers fell behind by three and ended up with two points, this time rallying past the Buffalo Sabres with six unanswered goals for a 7-4 win at FLA Live Arena, where the club is now an astounding 13-1 on the season.
The Sabres jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, thanks to two goals from brief member of the Cats, Vinnie Hinostroza and another from Dylan Cozens, who drew the lone assist on Hinostroza’s second marker at 14:25.
Lucas Carlsson notched his first NHL goal midway through the second to get the Cats on the board with the assists goin to Jonathan Huberdeau and Samson Reinhart, his first point against his former team. Huberdeau was likely looking for Reinhart, but his centering feed went out to Carlsson, who turned and smacked the puck past Aaron Dell.
It looked like a potential rally got quickly snuffed out as right after Carlsson’s goal, Eetu Luostarinen got a chance and hit the post and then Casey Middlestadt took a bounce pass off the boards and slipped a shot under Sergei Bobrovsky to send the veteran keeper to bench.
Spencer Knight entered the game at the 11:16 mark and Reinhart added to his assist with his first-ever goal against Buffalo, on a deflection from Carlsson and Huberdeau, a scant 76 seconds later.
Aaron Ekblad made it a one-goal game with 4:20 left to go in the frame. After holding the puck in the zone, not once, but twice, Ekblad headed towards the net to receive a backhand cross from Hubderdeau, which he lifted over Dell’s glove. Reinhart collected the secondary assist for his third point of the night.
Ekblad would pot his second consecutive goal 1:07 into the third to forge a 4-4 tie with the Panthers enjoying a man-advantage. After taking a pass from (who else) Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar took a shot that clanged off the cross bar and came right to Ekblad, who snapped in the rebound from the left circle. That made it a four-assist game for Number 11.
Anton Lundell would bag the eventual game-winner from Carter Verhaeghe and Ekblad at the 8:05 mark. Verhaeghe bulled his way down the right-side boards, set up behind the net and then put the puck out in front for the rookie to finish off from the low slot.
Huberdeau and Lundell would add empty-net goals to complete the scoring. Huberdeau’s was assisted by Reinhart, while Verhaeghe and Weegar collected the helpers on Lundell’s second marker.
What a comeback!
Swords & Tequila
- Jonathan Huberdeau played his 614th NHL game, moving him into second place in Panthers history behind Stephen Weiss (654). Huberdeau monster five-point effort earned him First Star honors
- Spencer Knight stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief to earn the win. Knight got a little help from Eetu Luostarinen, who saved a goal before Anton Lundell put the Cats ahead. Sergei Bobrovksy departed with 8 saves on 12 shots.
- Anton Lundell’s game-winner ended an 11-game goalless drought. His empty-netter gave him the first two-goal game of his NHL career.
- Casey Mittelstadt scored his first goal of the season, but went -3 in 19:02 TOI in his return to action after missing 21 games because of an upper-body injury.
- Sam Reinhart put up a season-high four points (1G/3A) in his first game against his old team. Reinhart had two shots on goal, a hit and finished with a +3 rating. I’m sure he’s looking forward to the rematch in Buffalo.
- A total of seven Panthers finished the game with multiple points.
- For more on Florida’s latest three-goal deficit erasing, visit Die By The Blade.
Video Recap (NHL.com)