SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Panthers are off to a good start on improving their play in overtime.
Vincent Trocheck scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
The Panthers only won one of seven overtime games last season, but have beaten the Devils in the extra period twice this season.
“It was a great win for us tonight. I didn’t think we played a great game, but we found a way,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said.
Trocheck poked in a rebound past Cory Schneider after his initial shot was blocked with 43.4 seconds left in overtime.
“There were three of us on the rush so they gave me the lane and I took the shot,” Trocheck said. “Schneider is a good goalie and made the first save, and then the puck came back to me and I put in the rebound.”
Denis Malgin and Aaron Ekblad also scored for the Panthers and James Reimer made 33 saves. Reimer started in place of Roberto Luongo, who has lost his last three starts.
Pavel Zacha, PA Parenteau and Travis Zajac scored for the Devils and Schneider stopped 25 shots.
Devils wing Taylor Hall had a point blank shot on a breakaway 37 seconds into overtime but Reimer stopped the shot.
“We had some chances. I had a breakaway, the puck wouldn’t stop rolling. I’d love to have that one back,” Hall said.
Zacha tied the score 3-all with 3:55 left in the third period. Zacha’s shot from the slot beat Reimer for his first NHL goal.
“It was a good feeling, at the moment, when it was 3-3,” Zacha said. “I’d feel much better if we won the game.”
The teams traded goals 20 seconds apart early in the third.
Trocheck extended the Panthers lead to 3-1 when he took a nice feed from Jaromir Jagr in the right circle and one-timed the puck past Schneider at 4:29.
The Devils answered when Parenteau took a pass from John Moore in the right circle and beat Reimer to cut the deficit to 3-2.
“When you look at the baseball game (Wednesday) night, leads aren’t a for-sure thing,” Reimer said. “We battled hard and Troch came up with a big goal in OT.”
The Devils were behind 2-0 and 3-1 but took the game into overtime.
“I liked the fact that we were able to find a way to be able to come back and get a point, being down two,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “There’s lots of positives to be able to take out of that.”
The Devils closed to 2-1 on a power-play goal by Zajac, whose shot was blocked but deflected off the skate of Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic and into the net with 1:56 left in the second.
After going 0 for 7 on the power play in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Boston, the Panthers converted on their first two opportunities.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Ekblad. Keith Yandle passed from the slot to Ekblad high in the left circle. Ekblad’s one-timer got by Schneider with 7:02 left in the first.
Florida stretched its lead to 2-0 on Malgin’s power-play goal at 6:44 of the second. Malgin’s shot from low in the right circle went past Schneider’s glove. The 19-year-old recorded his first NHL goal on Tuesday against Boston.
Notes: Jagr played in his 1,640th NHL game, passing Dave Andreychuk and moving into sixth all-time on the league list. Next up: No. 5 Chris Chelios (1,651) and No. 4 Mark Recchi (1,652). The earliest Jagr could pass Gordie Howe (1,767) for the NHL record would be in the second half of the 2017-18 season. … Gallant said C Nick Bjugstad (hand) and LW Jussi Jokinen (lower body) could be back with the team as early as next week. … The Devils played their first game since a 3-1 victory at Tampa Bay on Saturday. … Devils Cs Reid Boucher and Jacob Josefson were scratched.
Devils: Visit Tampa Bay on Saturday
Panthers: Visit Washington on Saturday
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