Sam Reinhart scored two of Florida’s four goals in the third quarter and the Panthers rallied to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Saturday.
Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist to tie former teammate Jonathan Huberdeau for the franchise career points lead with 613.
Matthew Tkachuk also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves. The Panthers kept pace in the Eastern Conference wild card race, extending their point streak to six with a 5-0-1 record.
( Stamkos scores twice as Lightning outpoints Devils in shootout )
“I liked our rebounding in the third,” Reinhart said. “We started to move our feet a bit, we started to create some chances and we capitalized. It was a back and forth night and they held on. … This is the most fun time to play. You could feel the vibe from the start. The fans know the position we’re in. We are enjoying the battle.”
Nico Hischier and Jesper Boqvist scored in the second quarter for New Jersey and rookie goaltender Akira Schmid made 37 saves. The Devils have lost three in a row.
“Just a couple of major glitches. I am ashamed of what we did to our goalie,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “After coming back from a tough first period and playing such a good second period to do that to ourselves, that’s more than a punch to the stomach.”
Hischier opened the scoring by killing a penalty, intercepting a missed pass at the top of the offensive zone, and charging on Bobrovsky at 2:16.
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Just over five minutes later, Boqvist scored, with Bobrovsky and a couple of his teammates on the ice after the goalkeeper’s earlier save.
“The second period was not what we wanted, but we had a great first and we wanted to get back to it,” Tkachuk said. “I thought we played a really strong 50 minutes, some of the seconds we’d like to get back. But that third period is how we want to play.”
Florida got on the board at 6:14 of the third on a freak play when Brandon Montour’s spot shot hit Marc Staal as it headed for the net. The puck landed directly on Barkov’s stick, who scored.
The Panthers then scored twice within a minute when Reinhart deflected a Brandon Montour shot past Schmid at 7:54. Tkachuk beat Schmid with a backhand after a pass from Carter Verhaeghe.
Reinhart added a goal into an empty net, with Barkov setting up an equalizer for Huberdeau.
( Jack Hughes scores 1, sets 2 from Jesper Bratt, Devils beat Cannes 3-0 )
Devils: In Tampa Bay on Sunday night.
Panthers: In Detroit on Monday night.