In an electrifying display of resilience, the Florida Panthers are riding high at the midway point of the season, extending their season-long winning streak to an impressive nine games. The exhilarating 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings at Amerant Bank Arena on Thursday was sealed by Sam Reinhart’s remarkable goal with less than a second remaining in overtime.
Sergei Bobrovsky played a crucial role in the Panthers’ success, making 31 saves and even providing one of the two assists on Reinhart’s game-winning goal. Reinhart, the team’s leading goal-scorer with 30 goals, reflected on the challenging match, stating, “It’s going well for us. We’re really kind of in the moment, taking it day by day. This was a really tough test. I liked our battle, liked our compete. We knew it wasn’t going to be much on either side of the puck and come down to inches. That’s a really solid team over there. It was a fun one.”
The Panthers now boast a record of 27-12-2 and have the opportunity to claim the top spot in the Atlantic Division if the Bruins lose in Las Vegas later tonight. This current nine-game win streak stands as the third-longest in franchise history, with forward Matthew Tkachuk emphasizing the team’s focus on making it 10 consecutive wins on Saturday.
The team previously achieved a 12-game winning streak in the 2015-16 season and had two notable streaks in the 2021-22 season — eight straight wins at the beginning and 13 consecutive victories toward the end.
The game against the Kings saw the Panthers facing a resilient opponent, with the Kings breaking the ice in the first period with Trevor Moore’s goal. Sam Bennett’s well-executed play in the second period equalized the score, but the Kings regained the lead with Drew Doughty’s late second-period goal. Undeterred, the Panthers fought back, with Tkachuk scoring and extending his goal streak to five games.
The turning point in overtime came when the Kings’ Adrian Kempe was penalized for cross-checking, giving the Panthers a 4-on-3 advantage. Although the Kings staved off most of the power play, Reinhart seized the opportunity with a skillful backhand shot over Cam Talbot’s blocker, scoring his 30th goal of the season with seven-tenths of a second left to secure the victory.
Reinhart’s exceptional performance was acknowledged by Tkachuk, who described him as “the real deal” and praised his consistency. The tight battle against the Kings showcased the Panthers’ commitment to a postseason-worthy playing style.
As the Panthers look ahead, the focus is on pushing the win streak into double digits when they face the New Jersey Devils at Amerant Bank Arena on Saturday at 6:00 P.M. EST. The Cats aim to continue their dominant run and maintain their position as a force in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
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