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Reinhart hits 50, Florida Panthers Finally Take Down the Flyers

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Sam Reinhart celebrates after scoring his 50th goal of the season late in the third period of the Florida Panthers 4-1 win in Philadelphia on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

With three of their biggest stars out of the lineup, the Florida Panthers needed a total group effort to take down a playoff-hungry Philadelphia Flyers team.

Led by newly-minted 50-goal scorer Sam Reinhart, they did just that.

Reinhart scored twice as the Panthers took down the Flyers 4-1 to snap a four-game losing streak and pull into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with the Boston Bruins.

“It’s pretty cool,” Reinhart told Bally Sports Florida after he scored his 50th goal of the season on an empty-netter with 1:12 remaining.

“That’s obviously a number I’ve never really thought about. I’ve been the recipient of being put in some very good positions this year while playing with some very good players, so it’s been fun.”

Even with that goal coming on an empty-netter, you know what they say: They don’t remember how, they remember how many.

“Obviously with the season he’s had, it was a no-brainer that it was going to come,” Brandon Montour said.

“I think it’s one of those things where you just build off the season he’s had. He’s scored any which way this year, so empty-netter or not, it’s 50 forever, and we keep building off that.”

In typical Reinhart fashion, he helped the Panthers win in all aspects of the game.

And they needed him to with the Panthers without three of their best defensive players, Sasha BarkovAaron Ekblad, and Gus Forsling.

Reinhart logged 20:15 of total ice time with 3:33 coming shorthanded, scored two goals, added a primary assist, threw two hits, and blocked a shot.

And, of course, that included his 50th goal.

“It’s just such an elite class,” coach Paul Maurice said. “And there are just a few people whose names score 50 that you don’t know. You’ve just heard of them because they’re the superstars.

”But, you know, five of those are shorthanded goals, right? And that tells you that he’s playing both sides of the puck. Some guys scored 50 who couldn’t even find their own end. Sam is a battler, a team-first player, and we are just so fortunate to have him.”

He set the tone for Florida early on, scoring on a rush started by Nick Cousins and finished by Anton Lundell, who found him nearly wide open in the face-off circle. 

Reinhart finished it off with a wrist shot too hard for Felix Sandstrom to handle.

In the second, Reinhart found himself on the opposite end of the exchange, this time setting up Vladimir Tarasenko, who wired a wrist shot off the crossbar and in.

That broke a five-game goal drought for the star trade deadline acquisition 55 seconds into the second period.

But Reinhart couldn’t have helped the Panthers win alone.

Carter Verhaeghe scored his second goal in as many nights after snapping a 14-game goal drought of his own, beating Sandstrom’s glove side 4:43 into the third period.

Anthony Stolarz was near-perfect, stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced, including all 13 high-danger shots he faced, per Natural Stat Trick.

The Panthers arguably needed Stolarz’s performance the most.

With Florida outshot 14-3 in the third period, he stopped 13 shots on 11 high-danger opportunities.

“He made some crazy saves,” Montour said. “He’s a warrior. He battles all throughout the whole 60 no matter what the score is. He is also very, very vocal, which helps us all game. He’s talking to us and helping us, especially on the back end and he obviously has a great attitude.”

His lone blemish came with 7:03 to go in the third period, when John Tortorella opted to pull his goalie to give his team a 6-on-4 power play opportunity. 

Bobby Brink potted home a feed from Ryan Poehling while sitting wide open.

Florida’s penalty kill was perfect otherwise, especially in the first period when it killed off three Flyers power plays, blocked five shots, and allowed just two low-danger shots.

Lundell was critical in that he picked up two shorthanded blocked shots in the first and four total on top of the assist he picked up.

Brandon Montour added three assists, four hits, and three blocked shots to the ledger.

In his return from a two-game suspension, Dmitry Kulikov blocked four shots, sharing the team lead with Lundell.

Niko Mikkola had the most ice time on the team, logging 25:04, with five hits and a blocked shot.

“He was an incredible find for our team,” Maurice said, making sure to single Mikkola out alongside Stolarz and Reinhart for his performance with Florida down two of its best defensemen.

“He went from corner to corner, and he went heavy all night long.”

It took all that for the shorthanded Panthers to finally snap their four-game skid and get the show back on the road.

“I thought we had a whole bunch of adversity lately, and we kind of need it to be at our best,” Maurice said.

“There won’t be a lot of video we use in terms of perfect style of play for our game. We won’t brag about what we were trying to do, but we made some hard efforts out there, and I’m really happy for the team.”

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

ON DECK

BOSTON BRUINS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; 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 — Regular Season: Tied 2-2; Playoffs: Florida won 4-3 (first-round)
  • This season (Bruins Lead 2-0) — At Boston: Bruins 3, Panthers 2 OT (Oct.30); April 6. At Florida: Bruins 3, Panthers 1 (Nov. 22); Tuesday.
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 62-37-7, 6 ties
  • All-time Postseason Series: Florida leads 2-0 (1996, 2023)
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday vs. NY Islanders, 7 p.m.

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