Panthers overcome 4-goal deficit for 7-6 OT win over Devils
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Gustav Forsling scored twice, including at 1:45 of overtime, and the Florida Panthers overcame a four-goal deficit and beat the New Jersey Devils 7-6 in overtime Saturday.
Aleksander Barkov also had two goals. Defenseman Radko Gudas, Ben Chiarot and Brandon Montour each scored for Florida, which won its third straight game.
Spencer Knight stopped six shots, picking up the victory in relief of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who was pulled after allowing six goals on 25 shots in the first two periods.
“We’re a pretty good team. We know we can come back in any game,” Barkov said. “We’re not going to do that every night, come back in the third from four behind, but we have a pretty good group to score four goals in a period.”
New Jersey forward Yegor Sharangovich had his first career hat trick. Jack Hughes, Janne Kuokkanen and Andreas Johnsson also scored for the Devils, who fell for the eighth time in 11 games. Andrew Hammond took the loss, his first of the season, allowing seven goals on 41 shots in his Devils debut.
“You can’t feel comfortable when you know that team could score the way they do,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said of the Panthers, who lead the NHL with 282 goals. “They’re the highest-scoring team in the league, and ... sometimes you’ve got to make a real tough play under duress, and we didn’t make enough of them.”
The Devils led 6-2 after two periods after a four-goal second period that included two goals from Sharangovich. He completed his hat trick with a short-handed goal against Bobrovsky that gave New Jersey a 5-2 lead.
“That should be the story right now,” Devils defenseman Damon Severson said. “We should be talking about an unbelievable hat trick by (Sharangovich), a great game by him, a big win by us, and unfortunately we’re talking about a great hat trick by him and a loss by us.”
But the Panthers, who improved to 9-13-1 when trailing after two periods, roared back in the third. Florida outshot New Jersey 23-5 in the third, and Barkov scored twice with Knight on the bench, tying the game with his second of the game and 33rd of the season with 1:24 remaining in regulation.
“He has been Mr. Clutch, and it seems to be growing,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said of Barkov. “I think he’s such an instrumental piece to our group, and he’s our leader and our captain and I love that he’s rising up to the big moments because we’re going to need them going forward here.”
Forsling capped the incredible comeback when he beat Hammond at 1:45 of the extra session for Florida’s fourth comeback from down three-plus goals his season, which tied an NHL record.
“I think we’ve shown through the course of the season we’re a very gritty team,” Brunette said. “We have resilience, and we have self-belief. We weren’t very good for almost 50 minutes ... but proud that the group of guys are never out of it.”
It was the second time this season New Jersey scored at least six goals against Florida this season, also doing so in a 7-3 home win against the Panthers on Nov. 9. It was the ninth time New Jersey scored at least six goals in a game this season.
Florida forward Patric Hornqvist (undisclosed) missed his fourth straight game, and center Noel Acciari (upper-body injury) missed his second straight. Neither accompanied the Panthers on their road trip, which ends Sunday in Buffalo. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (lower body) also missed his sixth straight game.
Forward Anton Lundell returned to Florida’s lineup after missing the past 11 games with a lower-body injury. Lundell was injured during the first period of Florida’s 6-1 win in Buffalo on March 7 and played 13:39.
The Panthers are off to Buffalo for a matinee on Sunday.
New Jersey will host the New York Islanders on Sunday.
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