EditorsNote: adds city in lede; fixes “MacKenzie” in third graf; fixes to “Winnipeg Jets” in sixth graf
The Florida Panthers, thanks to Noel Acciari’s go-ahead goal with 12:30 left in the third period, rallied from a three-goal deficit to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-4 on Monday afternoon in Newark, N.J.
Panthers winger Brett Connolly, acquired as a free agent in July after he had helped the Washington Capitals win the 2018 Stanley Cup, scored his first two goals as a member of the Panthers.
Florida also got goals from Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar and Evgenii Dadonov. Sergei Bobrovsky made 17 saves for the Panthers, who rallied from a 4-1, second-period deficit.
In a bit of an oddity, goals were scored in the first 32 seconds in each of the game’s three periods.
New Jersey’s Taylor Hall, named the NHL’s MVP in 2018, scored his first goal of the season and added an assist. Devils fourth-line center Pavel Zacha had a goal and two assists, but New Jersey (0-4-2) remains winless on the season.
The Devils also blew another big lead earlier this month, going from a 4-0 lead to a 5-4 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
Jesper Bratt and Will Butcher also scored for New Jersey, and goalie Cory Schneider made 28 saves.
Florida needed just 16 seconds to get on the board as Huberdeau and Dadonov worked a give-and-go. Dadonov’s return pass was a no-look beauty, setting up Huberdeau right in front of the net.
The Devils tied the score just 2:12 later when Hall took a drop pass from Zacha and drilled a wrist shot from just beyond the right circle.
New Jersey took a 2-1 lead with 47 seconds left in the first period. The Devils forced a turnover by Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman, leading to Bratt’s backhander from in close.
The Devils scored two more times in the first 68 seconds of the second period, taking a 4-1 lead. But the Panthers started their comeback with two goals by Connolly, the second of which was scored with just eight seconds left in the second period.
Then, just 30 seconds into the third period, Weegar tied the score 4-4 with his blast from above the left circle.
Acciari gave Florida a 5-4 lead with his deflection, and Dadonov dived to the ice to poke in a rebound with 4:28 left in the third, sealing New Jersey’s fate.
—Field Level Media