Florida Panthers 4, New Jersey 2

SUNRISE – The Florida Panthers had another comeback on Saturday night as they rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the visiting New Jersey Devils 4-2 as Sam Reinhart finished with a pair of goals.

Florida allowed a pair of second-period goals and things admittedly looked bleak for the Panthers heading into the third against a Devils team trying to keep pace with Carolina for the Metropolitan Division lead.

Still, Sasha Barkov kicked off the Panthers at 6:14 of the third – followed by Reinhart and Matthew Tkachuk.

After Barkov scored behind Marc Staal, Reinhart deflected a Brandon Montour power-play shot past rookie goalie Akira Schmid to tie the game at 7:54.

Less than a minute later, Carter Verhaeghe fed Tkachuk with a pass as he drove the net – and he flipped it past Schmid for Florida’s first lead of the night.

Reinhart then placed one in the empty net in the closing seconds to wrap it up.

“I liked our rebound in third,” Reinhart said. “We started moving our feet a bit, we started creating chances and we capitalized. It was a back and forth night and they hung on. Then they brought it to us and cut the wind from our sails. We scored the goal on the power play and really pushed forward in the third.

“It’s the most fun time to play. We felt the atmosphere from the start. The fans know the position we are in. We enjoy the battle. It was good to have that at home before taking the road. It will be good for us.

The Panthers now hit the road for a quick back-to-back trip to Detroit and Philadelphia before returning home to host the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Assisted on Reinhart’s empty goal, Barkov tied Jonathan Huberdeau for the franchise record in points with 613 apiece. He can set the record on Monday in Detroit.

GOALS OF THE MATCH Devils 1, Panthers 0 (2:16, 2nd): Nico Hischier recovers a stray puck in the neutral zone while killing a penalty, arrives uncontested and beats Sergei Bobrovsky to break the ice of the score. Devils 2, Panthers 0 (7:43, 2nd): With Bobrovsky on the ice with a few of his Florida teammates after sweeping the puck from danger, Jasper Boqvist shoots it. Devils 2, Panthers 1 (6:14, 3rd): Brandon Montour’s point shot hit Marc Staal’s back — but fell directly onto the ice where Sasha Barkov was and swept it away. Panthers 2, Devils 2 (7:54, 3rd): Montour fired another shot from the point with Sam Reinhart sending it up and down Akira Schmid to tie things up. Panthers 3, Devils 2 (8:44, 3rd): Matthew Tkachuk maintained his scorching scoring pace by taking a fine pass from Carter Verhaeghe and reversing it for Florida’s first lead of the night. Panthers 4, Devils 2 (19:40, 3rd): Reinhart scores an empty net to cap Florida’s comeback. FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW THE GAME 3 STARS

1. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida

2. Sasha Barkov, Florida

3. Sam Reinhart, Florida

PANTHERS ON DECK FLORIDA PANTHERS AT DETROIT RED WINGS When: Monday, 7 p.m. Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit Streaming/TV: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+ Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932 Last season: Florida won 4-0 This season (Florida leads 2-0): Panthers 5, Detroit 1 (December 8); Panthers 3, Red Wings 2 (Jan. 6) All-time regular season series: Florida leads 35-19-6, 5 ties Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.


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