Aleksander Barkov scored two goals to lift the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Maxim Mamin scored his second NHL goal and Robert Luongo made 29 saves as the Panthers recorded their fourth straight win.
Jesper Bratt and Taylor Hall scored for the Devils. Cory Schneider stopped 26 shots in his first start since missing 16 games with a lower-body injury.
Barkov’s second goal stretched the Panthers lead to 3-1 with 3:34 left in the third. Barkov lifted the puck over Schneider and into the net.
Bratt’s goal closed the score to 3-2 with 2:07 left in the third.
Mamin gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead on his flukey goal at 8:38 of the third period. Mamin grabbed a long cross-ice pass from Jared McCann and flipped the puck up at the net as he skated past on the right side. The puck bounced off Schneider’s back and rolled into the net.
Hall tied the score 1-all on a power-play goal 50 seconds into the second period. Hall’s shot from the top of the right circle was inadvertently redirected into the net off the stick of Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
Hall has 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in a 16-game point streak, the longest in the NHL this season and the longest in Devils history and has a point in 23 consecutive appearances.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead after Barkov took a shot from the left side that bounced off Schneider’s pad and out into the crease. The puck then went off the left skate of New Jersey’s Nico Hischier and into the net as he collided with both Florida’s Nick Bjugstad and Schneider in the crease at 6:51 of the first. The goal survived a coach’s challenge of goaltender interference. Barkov has a career-high 60 points.
NOTES: Schneider’s last start for the Devils was Jan. 23 at Boston. … Devils forward Patrick Maroon made his first appearance since being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 26. … Barkov has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in his past 12 games.
Devils: Visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.
Panthers: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
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The Florida Panthers teamed up with OneBlood and JetBlue to host a blood drive in honor of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and to raise awareness of the constant need for a ready blood supply in the community.
“They reached out last week. We wanted to make sure that we had enough trucks (and) that we’re doing it the right way, not right away, so it took about a week to put it all together,” Panthers business executive Shawn Thornton said.
After their morning skate, Local 10 News reporter Nicole Perez spoke to some of the players.
While the players are currently fighting for a spot in the playoffs, their minds are still on those affected by the mass shooting.
“The only thing we can do is commemorate and try to help the families and do it the best we can. You know, just go out and do our job and play as hard as we can for these people,” Roberto Luongo said.
Thornton said the Panthers want to help in any way they can.
“If someone wants to come to a game and just get away from things for a couple of hours, all they have to do is reach out and we would be happy to have them,” Thornton said. “We just want to support anyone who’s been affected by this.”
People can donate blood at the BB&T Center Thursday until 7 p.m. The Panthers will continue taking donations from the pregame until the second intermission. They are giving each person who donates blood a voucher for two tickets to an upcoming game.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Sabres captain Brian Gionta scored while playing his 1,000th career game and Buffalo beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Monday night.
Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian and Marcus Foligno also scored for the Sabres, who led 3-0 after Gionta’s goal 1:25 into the second period. The goal drew a large cheer from the crowd after the 15-year NHL veteran was honored during a pregame ceremony.
Gionta received a pass to the left of the net, then cut across the crease, drawing goalie James Reimer out of position. After Gionta’s first attempt was denied by Reilly Smith, he flipped a bad-angle shot toward the net that deflected in off the hands of defenseman Jason Demers.
Robin Lehner stopped 30 shots, including punching his glove hand out to get a piece of Smith’s backhander on a penalty shot 5:23 into the third period. Buffalo improved to 4-1 in its past five and earned its 76th point to move one back of the 13th-place Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.
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