SUNRISE, Fla. – Sam Reinhart scored 17 seconds into overtime to cap a late scoring flurry and give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the NHL-leading Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
After David Pastrnak scored to give the Bruins the lead with 48.6 seconds left in regulation, Florida captain Aleksander Barkov tied it with 2.4 seconds remaining.
The Panthers, the NHL Presidents’ Trophy winners last season, won for the first time this season when trailing going into the third period of a game. Florida had been 0-17-1 in such situations while the Bruins were 26-0-1 when leading after the first 40 minutes.
“I think were due for a game like this and were due a result like this all season,’’ Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “They just haven’t quit. It was the hardest part of the season and they kept getting kicked in the teeth and wouldn’t quit. You want it for them so bad. We deserved that a bunch of nights this season and just didn’t get it.’’
Craig Smith and Charlie Coyle also scored for Boston and Jeremy Swayman made 33 saves.
The Panthers got goals from Brandon Montour and Sam Bennett. Alex Lyon, Florida’s usual starter for its AHL team in Charlotte, stopped 37 shots.
Coyle was credited with the goal that gave Boston a 2-1 lead late in the second period after Bennett swatted the puck out of the air and scored into his own net.
Bennett did redeem himself at 8:29 of the third, tying it with a big wrist shot from the right circle. He was able to fool Swayman a bit as he looked to pass the puck, but instead wound up and let one go from 20 feet out.
“I would have had some nightmares if we didn’t get the win tonight. It was nice we got the win,’’ Bennett said afterward. “The puck was coming across, I was just trying to bat it down, bat it into the corner where it came from. It did not come off my stick that way, went right into the net. Unfortunate play. You try to move on and not think about it. Our team did a great job of rallying.’’
Prior to Saturday, the Bruins had not lost to a single team twice but they lost both of their games in Sunrise to the Panthers.
The Bruins did win both meetings in Boston as the two teams split the four-game season series.
If Florida was to get into the playoffs, it would probably be as the last wild card in the Eastern Conference and a probable Round 1 date with Boston.
“It’s a tough task, but that’s what we want,’’ Coyle said when asked about getting every team’s best. “That is only going to make us better prepared come playoff time when every game is like that. We know everyone’s going to come gunning for us and ready to play, whether they’re on a back-to-back or whatever … it is up to us to bring that focus and be prepared for it. It’s not going to be perfect every night.”
NOTES: Lyon made his fifth consecutive start in place of the injured Sergei Bobrovsky. … Boston forward Trent Frederic left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Boston coach Jim Montgomery confirmed it was from blocking a shot. He did not know whether Frederic would be available Sunday at Carolina.
Bruins: At Carolina on Sunday.
Panthers: Host Tampa Bay on Feb. 6.
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