Recap: Reinhart scores twice as Panthers double-up Devils 4-2

Cats post big road win despite losing Barkov to lower-body injury

Sam Reinhart opened the scoring and got the game-winning goal as the Florida Panthers posted a 4-2 road win over the New Jersey Devils, sending the Atlantic Division leaders to a fifth straight loss.

With Brendan Smith off for slashing Ryan Lomberg, Aleksander Barkov took a pass from Aaron Ekblad and then slipped the puck to Reihart, whose subsequent cross for Matthew Tkachuk deflected in off the skate of Jonas Siegenthaler at the 8:54 mark.

The Panthers would double the lead 7:49 into the second period. Working hard down in the left corner, and aided by a big Tkachuk Tkacheck, Aleksi Heponiemi sent the puck up the boards to Zac Dalpe. The journeyman crossed over to Gustav Forsling, who snapped a shot by the glove Akira Schmid from the top of the right circle, just beating Jesper Boqvist’s attempt to block.

New Jersey got on the board at 11:27 when Dawson Mercer’s drive by and Eric Staal’s stick blade sent Sergei Bobrovsky tumbling to ice and John Marino easily fired home from longe range. Jack Hughes and former Panther Erik Haula got the assists as the Devils did a real nice job moving the puck around the zone. Paul Maurice challenged the play for goaltender interference, but to no avail.

Florida would get the goal back with forty seconds left in the frame. Taking advantage of a stickless Nico Hischier, Eetu Luostarinen was able to drop back to Aaron Ekblad at the right point. Ekblad quickly let go of a shot that Reinhart was able to reach out and deflect down past Schmid to collect his second of the night.

Bobrovsky and his mates were able to repel the Devils until late in the third, when the Cats got disorganized after a line change.  After Bobrovksy stopped his soft shot from far out, Haula headed to the slot to convert a centering pass from Michael McLeod. Dougie Hamilton drew the secondary assist on the goal which came with 3:30 remaining.

The Panthers clinched it thanks to Carter Verhaeghe’s empty-net goal with 61 ticks left on the clock. Sam Bennett won a big defensive zone draw and Brandon Montour drove the puck up the boards to Grigori Denisenko. Denisenko first chipped the puck off of Hamilton and then got it Verhaeghe, who finished from the blue line, giving young Grigori his first NHL point of the season.

Fire & Brimstone

  • First Star Sam Reinhart became the third Panther to hit double-digit goals this season, joining Carter Verhaghe and Matthew Tkachuk. Reinhart has put up six points (4G/2A) in his past three games.
  • Tkachuk returned after one-game absence due to illness and was held without a point or shot on goal. He did have a hit and a block in 19:03 of ice time.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky continued his recent run of fine play by stopping 30 of 32 shots to post his seventh win of the season. Bobrovsky’s got his GAA down to 3.26 and save percentage up to .894. New Jersey rookie Akira Schimd finsihed with 25 saves.
  • It was a milstone night for Dougie Hamilton, who had one assist and a game-high six shots on goal in his 700th NHL game.
  • Big bounce back game for Aaron Ekblad, who was the goat in Thursday’s loss to Pittsburgh. Ekblad played a game-high 25:57 and registered two assists, two blocks and a hit.
  • Aleksander Barkov left the game with an assist and a lower-body injury after being hit in the left knee by the stick of Nico Hischier off a face-off with three seconds left in the first. Dirty, dirty Devil...
  • For more on Florida’s 15th win of the season, stop by All About The Jersey,/