By GEORGE RICHARDS | Associated Press
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Montour scored at 2:43 of overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
Eetu Luostarinen had a goal and an assist, and Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart also scored, and Matthew Tkachuk had three assists for the Panthers, who have won three straight. Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 21 saves.
Caleb Jones, Cole Guttman and Boris Katchouk scored goals, and Jujhar Khaira had two assists for the Blackhawks, who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Petr Mrazek stopped 39 shots.
Florida trailed 2-0 going into the third period before Bennett and Reinhart scored 29 seconds apart to tie the score near the midpoint of the period.
“We did not like our start, it was a little sleepy,’’ Montour said. “But we are a resilient group and we believe in ourselves. We were getting chances so it was just bound to happen for us.”
Bennett scored from in front of the net off a pass from Tkachuk off the back boards to get the Panthers on the scoreboard with his 16th at 8:29, and Reinhart reached out and deflected a point shot from Tkachuk on a power play for his 22nd to tie it less than 30 seconds later
Luostarinen gave the Panthers their first lead with 7:18 remaining as he scored from the high slot after taking a pass from Tkachuk for his 16th.
“We had to play better in the third than we did in the first two (periods),’’ Tkachuk said. “There was frustration. Let’s be real here, that’s a team ranked 30th in the league. We needed the win more than they did. To be down 2-0 at any point in that game was frustrating. ... It was not the start we wanted but we did a good job in the third. We heard some boos there, but turned it around at the end and heard some cheers.”
The Blackhawks pulled Mrazek for an extra skater in the closing minutes and Guttman converted from in front with 44.3 seconds remaining to tie it with his fourth.
Jones got Chicago on the scoreboard first at 6:49 of the first as he scored on a breakaway for his third.
Katchouk knocked in a pass from Joey Anderson to make it 2-0 with 2:07 left in the opening period.
“I thought we had a really good effort,’’ Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “I thought we frustrated them in the first half of the game and controlled that part of the game really well. … But they pushed and we knew they were going to be desperate and push. They’re playing for a playoff spot.’’
NOTES: The Blackhawks were without G Alex Stalock on Friday night so the team turned to the Florida emergency backup goalie. Zach Andrews, a 31-year-old from nearby Coral Springs, took warmups with the Blackhawks and was assigned No. 80. Andrews played collegiately at UMass-Boston and helps out the Panthers throughout the season at practices. ... Florida was missing F Anthony Duclair because of an illness with D Casey Fitzgerald sliding onto the fourth forward line.
Blackhawks: At Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
Panthers: Host Winnipeg on Saturday night.
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