Panthers beat Flyers 3-2 for 4th straight win
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — James Reimer delivered for the Florida Panthers — again.
Reimer stopped 29 shots in his 10th straight start, and Florida beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Thursday night for its fourth straight victory.
Derek MacKenzie and Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the second period as the Panthers earned their first win over the Flyers since March 12, 2016, snapping a four-game losing streak against Philly. Jared McCann also scored.
“We came out hard and (Reimer) made the saves he’s supposed to make,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said. “It got a little crazy in the third, but our first 40 minutes pushed us through to the win.”
Brian Elliott made 24 saves for the Flyers, and Scott Laughton and Sean Couturier scored in the third period.
“I think our urgency was a little off coming into this one,” Elliott said. “They came at us hard and we really didn’t match it, until the last 10 minutes of the game, and that can’t happen.”
Reimer, who was coming off a 1-0 victory against Ottawa on Saturday night, faced an aggressive Flyers comeback in the latter part of the game after the Panthers carried a 3-0 lead into the third.
“They’ve got a lot of offensive talent. As a goalie you want to make some saves, but they’re bound to score on some chances,” Reimer said. “You just keep chugging away and make sure you have that high compete level and things will end the right way.”
Laughton wristed a back pass from Travis Konecny past Reimer with 7:32 remaining. Couturier added his 17th goal with 2:02 left, but Florida held on.
“We really didn’t start playing until about halfway through this game,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “We needed to match the intensity level that the game was at and try to find a way to help us get back into it.”
The Panthers jumped in front when McCann converted a wrist shot at 6:43 of the first. McCann took a feed from Nick Bjugstad at his own blue line and skated untouched into the high slot, where he beat Elliott for his fifth goal.
MacKenzie’s first goal of the season increased Florida’s lead to 2-0 midway through the second period. Colton Sceviour gained possession on a short-handed rush into the Flyers’ zone and found MacKenzie in front for the one-timer over Elliott’s shoulder on the stick side.
“Our line tries to chip in any way we can, but it’s the big lines that night in and night out get it done for us,” MacKenzie said. “Nothing has changed. They were good again tonight and we came up with two points.”
Huberdeau added his 13th at 13:52. It was his fourth goal in his last three games.
“We’re playing way better defensively and we have better starts,” Huberdeau said. “It’s been good to come back lately and get some wins.”
Michael Raffl, who picked up an assist on Flyers’ first goal, said things need to change heading into the new year after Philadelphia lost its third straight game.
“We didn’t win enough battles. There’s lots of excuses out there if you look for them,” Raffl said. “At the end of the day we weren’t good enough tonight.”
NOTES: Bjugstad had two assists to get to 150 career points. He has seven points over his last eight games. ... D Andrew MacDonald played in his 200th game with the Flyers. He is just five shy of 500 games in the NHL. ... Florida RW Radim Vrbata did not suit up because of the flu. ... Panthers C Vincent Trocheck was back in action leaving Saturday’s game against Ottawa with soreness in his rib cage. ... Panthers LW Jamie McGinn also returned after missing the past two games with an upper-body injury. ... Elliott played in his 11th straight game.
Flyers: Visit Tampa Bay on Friday night.
Panthers: Host Montreal on Saturday night.