SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers came into the third Saturday night down a pair of goals to the visiting Canucks and, as the period went on, it looked like the Comeback Cats could be back.
Vancouver shut that down.
After Evan Rodrigues and Sam Reinhart combined for a pair of goals, Vancouver added two late and pulled out a 5-3 win.
Down 3-1, Reinhart was down low and kicked a rebound from Rodrigues onto his stick and beat Vancouver goalie Casey DeSmith.
Eight minutes later, Rodrigues sent a sharp backhanded pass from the backwall to the waiting stick of Reinhart who one-timed it past DeSmith to tie things at 3.
Florida ended up outshooting the Canucks 19-4 in the third — but, yet…
Andrei Kuzmenko scored with Sergei Bobrovsky down on the ice with 4:57 remaining giving Vancouver the lead back for good.
“We had an event on that game-winner that won’t happen again,’’ Paul Maurice said.
Until then, the story had been Vancouver’s power play as it had scored on its first two chances with the man advantage.
The Panthers came into the night ranked 24th in the NHL after giving up six goals on their first 20 penalty kills; Saturday, the Canucks got off 10 shots and scored off goals from Quinn Hughes and Carson Soucy.
Down 1-0, captain Sasha Barkov was along the blue line and took a pass from Rodrigues and walked in toward DeSmith uncontested.
Although Barkov’s soft backhanded clipped the goal cage, Ian Cole’s clearing attempt helped push it through.
Vancouver would be the team to score quickly in the second.
Tied at 1, the Canucks took the lead back on their second power play chance — with former Vancouver d-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the box for hooking — as Soucy rifled a shot past Bobrovsky at 10:41.
A mere 36 seconds later, Vancouver made it 3-1 on an even-strength goal from Elias Pettersson.
The Panthers got within a goal at 6:10 of the third when Reinhart got his first.
Yet 17 seconds later, Vancouver got its third power play chance — after scoring twice with 10 shots on goal on the previous two.
This time, the Panthers shut them down and did not allow a shot.
Tied at 3, Vancouver retook the lead on a goal from Kuzmenko after Steven Lorentz collided with Bobrovsky and the two tumbled to the ice with 4:57 left.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Canucks 1, Panthers 1 (11:09, 1st PP): Quinn Hughes fired a shot from the high slot off a pass from J.T. Miller to give Vancouver the initial lead. Although it appeared Elias Petterssson interfered with Sergei Bobrovsky by banging into his extended glove, Florida did not challenge and play went on.
- Panthers 1, Canucks 1 (11:29, 1st): Moments after the Canucks goal, Sasha Barkov sprung up the middle, took a nice pass from Evan Rodrigues and walked in on Casey DeSmith. Barkov’s soft backhanded shot clipped the cage but the stick of Ian Cole helped it across.
- Canucks 2, Panthers 1 (10:41, 2nd PP): Defenseman Carson Soucy ripped off an uncontested shot from the top of the slot to give Vancouver the lead back.
- Canucks 3, Panthers 1 (11:15, 2nd): Andrei Kuzmenko skated around the back end of the net and found an open Pettersson for his second goal of the season.
- Canucks 3, Panthers 2 (6:10, 3rd): Sam Reinhart scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season by banging in a rebound off a shot from Rodrigues.
- Panthers 3, Canucks 3 (14:01, 3rd): Reinhart gets his second of the night — with Rodrigues sending a beauty of a pass from the backwall.
- Canucks 4, Panthers 3 (15:03, 3rd): Kuzmenko gets his second point of the night as he sent one into an empty net with Bobrovsky on the ice after Steven Lorentz ran into him.
- Canucks 5, Panthers 3 (17:50, 3rd EN): Brock Boeser picked up his team-leading sixth of the season with Bobrovsky on the bench.
FHN’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Andrei Kuzmenko, Vancouver
2. Sam Reinhart, Florida
3. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver
PANTHERS ON DECK
SAN JOSE SHARKS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Tuesday, 7:45 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932; NHL App
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- This season: Tuesday @ Florida; @ San Jose, Nov. 14
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 21-13-1, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Seattle, 6 p.m.