SUNRISE — With a hat trick on Thursday, Sam Reinhart helped lead the Florida Panthers win their fifth consecutive game as they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 at FLA Live Arena.
Reinhart scored two power play goals off shots from Jonathan Huberdeau in the first period to help Florida take a four-goal lead it did not relinquish.
He got his third off another Huberdeau dish.
As for the Panthers, a 4-0 lead did not mean things did not get tight.
Reinhart’s first goal of the night came on a deflection of a Huberdeau shot with 5:48 to go in the first period to make it 2-0.
He made it 3-0 four minutes later, batting the puck out of midair off of another Huberdeau attempt for his second power play goal of the game.
It was the second consecutive game Reinhart scored a goal in a non-conventional fashion.
With the MLB lockout over, he might have caught a few eyes from teams in need of a designated hitter.
Reinhart can bring the wood.
“They’re nice goals to get,” Reinhart said. “I’m just kind of in tight and I see the puck bouncing a little bit. I try sticking with it and it’s nice to see those go in.”
After a three-goal second period from the Flyers, Reinhart got right back to work in search for the hat trick.
The Panthers went to the power play with 13:37 to go in the game and were already 2-for-2 in the game.
Just 36 seconds into the man-advantage, an Anthony Duclair shot bounced off of a stick in front of the net and went past Flyers’ goaltender Carter Hart to make it a 5-3 game.
Fans started throwing hats on the ice, thinking the goal belonged to Reinhart, who was in front.
It did not.
The puck deflected off of a Philadelphia defender’s stick and went into the net.
“That just delayed it a bit,” Reinhart said. “I obviously know I didn’t come anywhere close.”
That goal did make Panthers history, however.
Huberdeau picked up his third assist of the night — and his 63rd of the season — to break Florida’s franchise record for most assists in a single season.
Reinhart did get his hat trick in the end, however.
In the final minutes of the game, Huberdeau walked in alone and had a shot at the empty net.
Only he was watching Reinhart and handed him the puck so he could send the hats flying from the stands.
Ones he could keep, this time.
“Before I shot it, I was like ‘if you’re open, I will pass it to you’ but I saw him coming and it was great,” Huberdeau said.
“He has been playing so well this year and he obviously scored two goals, so to have him finish it up with the hatty is fun.”
Huberdeau picked up his fourth assist of the game as well, bringing his season total of points to 82.
With his four-point effort, he passed Connor McDavid for the NHL lead.
“Huberdeau knows what’s going on all the time, he’s an extremely unselfish player,” Brunette said.
“You don’t have 64 assists without being very aware, very perceptive, highly intelligent and unselfish and he demonstrated all of those things tonight.”