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Another Denver Rout: Florida Panthers 8, Colorado Avalanche 4

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Panthers avalanche

Sam Reinhart picked up some new headwear Saturday as a number of hats were tossed onto the ice during the third period of the Florida Panthers game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Reinhart’s third goal of the day came on a 5-on-3 power play chance — and gave Florida the lead back in a wild game between two of the top teams in the NHL.

Florida was able to hold on to this final lead and win its seventh straight game by beating the Avalanche 8-4.

It was the seventh hat trick of Reinhart’s career.

This game certainly lived up to its billing as both teams scored three unanswered goals before the score started to flip back and forth.

The Panthers, now 3-0 on this road trip and off to Vail for some down time before flying to St. Louis on Monday afternoon, never trailed on Saturday.

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Florida was all over the Avalanche early, scoring three goals in the opening 10 minutes before Colorado tied it in the second.

The Avs scored twice in the opening minute of the period before trying the score at 4:35; Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored on a point shot at 8:50 of the second to give Florida the lead back — and chase starter Ivan Prosvetov from the net.

Jonathan Drouin tied the score at 4 early in the third, but but Florida got Reinhart’s third goal of the day on a 5-on-3 power play chance — and then the floodgates opened as Kevin Stenlund, Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe all scored to pad the lead.

GAME NOTES

Florida center Sam Bennett did not come out for the third period with an undisclosed injury.

Paul Maurice said it was an upper-body injury that “we’re not that concerned with.’’

  • This winning streak of seven games is tied for fourth-longest in franchise history. The longest wining streak: 13 during the Presidents’ Trophy season of 2021-22.
  • By winning in regulation, the Panthers are now two points back of Winnipeg for first place in the NHL with 52 points. The Rangers and Bruins can pull into a tie with the Jets by winning on Saturday night.
  • The Panthers had 11 players hit the scoresheet on Saturday led by Reinhart (three goals), Tkachuk (goal, three assists), Sasha Barkov (four assists) and Verhaeghe (two goals, assist). Evan Rodrigues and Gus Forsling also had two assists.
  • Tkachuk and Verhaeghe each extended their scoring streak to five games. Verhaeghe has five straight multi-point games.
  • Bobrovsky has a personal six-game winning streak.
  • Barkov played in his 700th NHL game — all, obviously, with the Panthers
  • Due to being hit in the jaw Thursday, Barkov wore a full shield on Saturday.

GOALS OF THE GAME

  • Panthers 1, Avalanche 0 (1:10, 1st): Matthew Tkachuk tracks down a puck behind the net, sends a quick feed to Carter Verhaeghe who whips it past Ivan Prosvetov for his 21st of the year.
  • Panthers 2, Avalanche 0 (3:02, 1st): Gus Forsling fires off a sharp point shot — one that gets deflected in by Sam Reinhart.
  • Panthers 3, Avalanche 0 (7:41, 1st): Sasha Barkov strips the puck from Cale Makar, gives it up to Evan Rodrigues who sends it right back. Barkov then springs Reinhart for a breakaway — one he finishes with aplomb.
  • Panthers 3, Avalanche 1 (0:21, 2nd): Makar fires one from the right circle that clears the glove of Sergei Bobrovsky and the Avs start the second on fire.
  • Panthers 3, Avalanche 2 (0:52, 2nd): Two shots, two goals less than a minute into the second as Josh Manson gets a loose puck past Bobrovsky who slipped on his lost stick which was pushed into his path.
  • Avalanche 3, Panthers 3 (4:35, 2nd PP): Valeri Nichushkin deflects a point shot from Makar and this one is all tied up.
  • Panthers 4, Avalanche 3 (8:50, 2nd): Oliver Ekman-Larsson slices one from the point and it gets past Ivan Prosvetov. And that’s it for Prosvetov.
  • Avalanche 4, Panthers 4 (3:31, 3rd): Jonathan Drouin broke free, drove past Niko Mikkola and beats Bobrovsky to tie the score again.
  • Panthers 5, Avalanche 4 (5:59, 3rd PP): Reinhart plays a little tic-tac-toe with Verhaeghe and Tkachuk, powering in a shot from the slot. Timeout on the ice for hats!
  • Panthers 6, Avalanche 4 (8:54, 3rd): Kevin Stenlund wins a faceoff deep in the offensive zone, gets the puck back from Ryan Lomberg and backhands a shot top shelf for some much-needed insurance against the high-flying Avs.
  • Panthers 7, Avalanche 4 (16:18, 3rd EN): Moments after Alexandar Georgiev leaves his net open and Tkachuk fills it up.
  • Panthers 8, Avalanche 4 (16:54, 3rd EN): Verhaeghe gets into the empty net act as well.

GR’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME

1. Sam Reinhart, Florida

2. Sasha Barkov, Florida

3. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ ST. LOUIS BLUES 

  • When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • This Season (St. Louis Leads 1-0) — At Florida: Blues 4, Panthers 1 (Dec. 21). At St. Louis: Tuesday.
  • Last Season: Blues won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: St. Louis leads 27-12-1, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday vs. Los Angeles, 7 p.m.

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