Noel Acciari scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky made a triumphant return to the lineup as the host Florida Panthers defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 5-2, on Thursday night at Sunrise, Fla.
Acciari, a free-agent signee after playing for the Boston Bruins the past four years, has 17 goals this season and 12 in his past 12 games. Before this season, he had scored just 18 goals in 180 games.
Bobrovsky was bypassed the past two games as Florida went with rookie Chris Driedger. The most recent game for Bobrovsky had been Saturday, when he was pulled after making just four saves and allowing three goals. This time, Bobrovsky made 30 saves to beat Vancouver.
The Panthers also got goals from Mark Pysyk, Evgenii Dadonov - who leads the team with 19 scores - and Mike Hoffman. Jonathan Huberdeau added two assists and is one point away from tying Olli Jokinen for the career record for the franchise.
Vancouver got goals from Brock Boeser and Tyler Motte. Goalie Thatcher Demko made 44 saves.
The Canucks, who entered the state on a seven-game win streak earlier this week, have now lost two straight contests. The other defeat was 9-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
Florida, which has alternated a win with a loss for seven straight games, needed just 60 seconds to get on the board as Vinny Trocheck’s forecheck created a Loui Eriksson turnover behind Vancouver’s net. From there, it was an easy goal for Acciari, who was alone in front.
The Panthers made it 2-0 with just 3:01 expired in the first. Playing against Vancouver’s top line, fourth-line center Colton Sceviour broke out on the left wing and fed ahead to Pysyk, who redirected the puck for his third goal of the season.
Vancouver cut its deficit to 2-1 with 6:51 gone in the first as Boeser deflected a long shot by Tyler Myers.
Florida missed a pair of golden opportunities to make it 3-1 as Hoffman hit the post, and Aleksander Barkov’s shorthanded, breakaway attempt was stuffed by Demko. Barkov, who scored a career-high 35 goals last season, is now on a six-game goal drought.
However, despite those misses, the Panthers persisted, and Barkov dished to Dadonov on an odd-man rush, giving Florida that coveted 3-1 lead with 67 seconds left in the first.
Then, after a slashing penalty on Vancouver’s Antoine Roussel, Florida made it 4-1 with 3:40 expired in the second. Huberdeau stickhandled through a couple of Canucks players and fed Hoffman, whose one-timer from the right circle hit the back of the net.
The teams traded third-period goals - Acciari and Motte - and Florida held on from there.
—Field Level Media