Back on track: Matheson, Pysyk lead Panthers to 5-3 win in New Jersey

Florida snaps 3-game skid with win over Devils

Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson celebrates his goal with defenseman Mark Pysyk Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020.
Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson celebrates his goal with defenseman Mark Pysyk Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

NEWARK, N.J. – Florida's fourth line of Mike Matheson, Mark Pysyk and Noel Acciari each scored and accounted for eight points as the Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Frank Vatrano and Brett Connolly also scored as the Panthers won for only second time (2-4-1) since returning from the All-Star break. Sam Montembeault had 25 saves in his first start since Nov. 24.

Jack Hughes, Kevin Rooney and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, who saw their season-high six-game (3-0-3) point steak snapped. Louis Domingue made 28 saves in getting a start for MacKenzie Blackwood, who had shutouts in his last two starts.

What made the performance by the Panthers' fourth line so impressive is that Matheson and Pysyk are defenseman who played forward on a line centered by Acciari.

Florida coach Joel Quenneville dressed eight defensemen for the game and the strategy worked to perfection.

Matheson, who like Pysyk has eight goals, gave Florida the lead for good late in the first period, scoring on a rebound in close for a 2-1 lead.

Pysyk, who had a hat trick against Toronto last week, stretched the margin to 3-1 early in the second with a shot in close set up by Matheson.

After Rooney cut the deficit to a goal on a giveaway at 4:17, Florida, which had scored five goals in its last four games, got two more in a 39-second span to push the lead to 5-2.