ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Sam Reinhart was able to celebrate his 27th birthday with two goals and hopefully a bit of confidence.
The Florida forward scored twice in the third period as the Panthers finished off a four-game road trip with a 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.
“We had a good first and third. It was nice to salvage the road trip and carry some momentum back home,” Reinhart said.
Panthers coach Paul Maurice said pairing Reinhart with Anton Lundell on the second line definitely helped Reinhart find the net for the first time this season.
Maurice had to juggle all four of his forward lines after Matthew Tkachuk was suspended two-games for high-sticking Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on Saturday night in Los Angeles.
“Him and Lundell are back together and they know how to play off each other,” Maurice said. “Sam’s had so many chances to score and it just didn’t seem to go for him. His game has been right.”
The game was tied 2-2 after two periods before the Panthers took control. Reinhart put Florida in front when he chipped in a loose puck on a scramble in front of the net at 2:55 for his first goal of the season.
Carter Verhaeghe scored for the third straight game, Brandon Montour had a goal and three assists, and Sam Bennett also scored for the Panthers, who finished 2-2 on their four-game trip. Lundell had two assists and Spencer Knight stopped 32 shots to improve to 4-1.
Ryan Strome had a goal and an assist, and Adam Henrique and Isac Lundestrom also scored for Anaheim, which had won three of its last four coming in. John Gibson made 41 saves.
Bennett scored off a centering pass from Eetu Luostarinen at 8:10 to push the lead to 4-2.
Lundestrom got the Ducks within one on a penalty shot while they were short-handed with 1:14 remaining. Reinhart then had an empty-net goal with 1 second left.
Verhaeghe scored his team-leading eighth goal and extended his scoring streak to three straight games at 11:31 of the first when he redirected Montour’s shot past Gibson on the power play. Montour made it 2-0 at 2:51 of the second when he kept the puck in the offensive zone and then fired a wrist shot from the point.
The Ducks evened it with two goals in a 27-second span in the second. Henrique deflected Strome’s shot from the point that went over Knight’s glove at the 8-minute mark. Strome then knocked in a loose puck in front of the net at 8:27 to tie it 2-2.
“The second period is a period that we’re very capable of. That’s how we have to play and we show spurts of it which shows that you can do it,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “The challenge is to choose to do it each and every shift, every period. That’s what we have to do.”
Anaheim’s Troy Terry and John Klingberg each had an assist to extend their points streaks. Terry has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in the last five games while Klingberg has five assists in the last four.
Besides pairing Lundell and Reinhart together, Maurice also liked the pairing of Luostarinen on the third line.
“When Matthew comes back I’ve got a different set of lines than I did a day ago. This was a great learning experience for our team to find something new,” Maurice said.
Panthers: Host Carolina on Wednesday night.
Ducks: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night.
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