SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers welcomed star rookie Connor Bedard to Amerant Bank Arena on Sunday.
And he lived up to every bit of hype he has received so far.
The 18-year-old scored two goals, but the Panthers got the last laugh in a 4-3 win.
Sam Reinhart did not disappoint either, continuing his hot start to the season with a two-goal, four-point performance of his own.
He outshined the other Sam — Sam Bennett — who did not get on the scoresheet in his return to the lineup from a lower-body injury.
Reinhart finished the afternoon tied for second in the NHL in goals with 11.
Reinhart also helped start things up with an assist just 39 seconds into the game.
He found Oliver Ekman-Larsson on a nice tic-tac-toe play seconds after the opening draw.
Jason Dickinson tied the game up 7:04 into the first with a shot that dribbled through Sergei Bobrovsky’s five-hole.
Reinhart and Bedard took over after that.
Florida’s leading scorer got things started there, deflecting a Matthew Tkachuk shot past Arvid Soderblom with 8:07 to go in the first.
Uvis Balinskis nearly got his second of the game with 2:06 to go in the first but it was waved off as Reinhart was determined to be interfering with Soderblom on the play.
Bedard then scored on a wide-angle shot 1:10 later to tie the game.
Reinhart gave the Panthers the lead back seven minutes into the second period.
Bedard then re-tied it with a quick goal off the rush 1:16 later.
Carter Verhaeghe got on the board, putting a Reinhart rebound past Soderblom on the power play 2:44 into the third to restore Florida’s lead.
That goal marked the first time the Panthers scored multiple power play goals in a game through 14 games in the 2023-24 season.
They finished 2-for-4 on the night.
The Panthers’ penalty kill stayed hot, too, killing off all three Chicago power plays with relative ease.
GOALS OF THE GAME
- Panthers 1, Blackhawks 0 (0:39, 1st): Oliver Ekman-Larsson tapped in a feed from Sam Reinhart on a quick tic-tac-toe play from the top line.
- Blackhawks 1, Panthers 1 (7:04, 1st): Jason Dickinson stuffed in a rebound that dribbled through Sergei Bobrovsky’s five-hole.
- Panthers 2, Blackhawks 1 (11:53, 1st, PPG): Reinhart deflected a Matthew Tkachuk shot past Arvid Soderblom on the power play.
- Blackhawks 2, Panthers 2 (19:04, 1st): Connor Bedard stripped Kevin Stenlund of the puck and beat Bobrovsky with a wide-angle shot.
- Panthers 3, Blackhawks 2 (7:00, 2nd): Reinhart banked a shot off the back of Soderblom’s leg for his 11th goal of the season.
- Blackhawks 3, Panthers 3 (8:16, 2nd): Bedard scored his second of the game with a quick wrist shot off the rush.
- Panthers 4, Blackhawks 3 (2:44, 3rd): Carter Verhaeghe put a Reinhart rebound past Soderblom on the power play.
COLBY’S 3 STARS OF THE GAME
1. Sam Reinhart, Florida
2. Connor Bedard, Chicago
3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Florida
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS @ SAN JOSE SHARKS
- When: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m.
- Where: SAP Center; San Jose, Calif.
- Streaming ONLY: ESPN+/Hulu
- 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 — Florida Leads 1-0: @Florida 3, San Jose 1 (Oct. 24); @San Jose, Tuesday
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 22-13-1, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. (BSF)