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Panthers down Coyotes for fifth straight victory

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Sam Reinhart and Matthew Tkachuk scored 42 seconds apart in the third period and the Florida Panthers beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves and Carter Verhaeghe and Gustav Forsling also scored for the Panthers, who have won five straight and nine of 13.

“Sometimes it's not the easiest flying all the way across the country and getting right into one, and they made it tough tonight,” Reinhart said. “They fly around the ice. They are a good hockey team. I didn't really seem like a 4-1 game, but we were able to stick with it.”

Reinhart scored on a power play at 7:56 off the third period to break a 1-1 tie, and Tkachuk was credited with the goal at 8:38 when Arizona defenseman Michael Kesselring tipped the puck into the net from in front. Forsling scored an empty-net goal with 2:21 left.

Alex Kerfoot scored a short-handed goal to tie it at 1-1 early in the third period for the Coyotes, who had won two in a row and six of seven. The Panthers outshot the Coyotes 38-22.

“Even when they scored a short-handed goal, it's just keep plugging on,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “That's just a metaphor for this team. When we have bad breaks or bad events, they are confident in what they are doing.”

Reinhart has six goals in his last five games, and his 11 power-play goals lead the league. He has scored at least 10 power-play goals in each of the last four seasons.

Aleksander Barkov assisted on Reinhart’s goal and set the franchise record with 416 career assists. He has nine assists in his last five games.

“It was a 60-minute effort by us,” Barkov said. “I'm honored and fortunate that I get to be a Florida Panther for such a long time, and hopefully for even longer. Those milestones feel great, but they are going to feel even better after the career when you have a chance to relax and think about them.”

Florida played the first game of a four-game road trip while the Coyotes played the first game of a five-game homestand.

Bobrovsky, making his fifth start in six games, has 18 wins and trails only Colorado’s Alexandar Georgiev, who has 20.

“When Bob is playing like that, is is pretty fun to be in front of him,” Reinhart said.

Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka made 34 saves while having his career-best four-game winning streak broken.

Verhaeghe opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at 10:46 of the first period. His pass was knocked down as he entered the offensive zone, but the puck rolled free and he picked it up and put it past Vejmelka on the glove side.

The Coyotes appeared to score less than three minutes into the game when Logan Cooley’s shot from the left point was deflected in, but the goal was disallowed because Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien bumped Bobrovsky and knocked him off balance while joining the play from behind the net.

Coyotes forward Jason Zucker and Forsling received five-minute major penalties for fighting after Zucker slammed Forsling into the side boards with 51 seconds remaining in the scoreless second period. Zucker was penalized five minutes for boarding and Forsling two minutes for instigating. Zucker received a game misconduct and Forsling a 10-minute misconduct.

Kerfoot scored 3:17 into the third period to tie it midway through the Panthers’ three-minute power play.

“We were in it after two (periods), not only by the score but by the way we played," Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “In the third period, we got emotional and had a tough time to stay focused and keep our composure. They scored a big goal off their power play, and right away after we scored another one (own goal), and that sucked the energy out of us a little bit.”

UP NEXT

Panthers: Play at Vegas on Thursday.

Coyotes: Host Anaheim on Thursday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL