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Reinhart hat trick leads streaking Panthers past Avalanche

Sam Reinhart Florida Panthers Sam Reinhart - The Canadian Press

DENVER (AP) — Sam Reinhart scored three times for his seventh career hat trick, and the surging Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 8-4 on Saturday for their seventh straight win.

Reinhart has 10 goals during Florida’s win streak, including three multigoal games. Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves for his sixth straight win during the streak.

“When you can get on a roll like this it takes some pressure off some other times throughout the season when it’s not going so well,” Reinhart said.

Aleksander Barkov, wearing a shield on his helmet after taking an elbow to the head at Vegas on Thursday night, had four assists in his 700th NHL game for Florida. Carter Verhaeghe had two goals and an assist, and Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and three assists. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Kevin Stenlund also scored.

“The helmet didn’t slow him down,” coach Paul Maurice said. “If he gets four (assists) the next night it’s on, he’s wearing it all year.”

The Panthers led 3-0 and 4-3, but Colorado rallied each time. Jonathan Drouin tied it at 4 with his ninth of the season 3:31 into the third.

Ross Colton then took a double minor for high sticking, Logan O’Connor went off for delay of game 25 seconds later, and Reinhart completed his hat trick when he scored his 28th of the season at 5:59.

Stenlund made it 6-4 with his seventh 8:59 into the final period.

Colorado rallied from multigoal deficits to win in overtime in the previous two games, but it couldn’t pull off the same feat against Florida. Cale Makar and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche. Josh Manson also scored and Nathan MacKinnon had an assist to extend his home point streak to 21 games to start the season.

Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev had 12 saves in relief of Ivan Prosvetov.

The Panthers scored three times on four shots against Prosvetov in the first 7:41 of the first period. Verhaeghe scored his 21st just 1:10 into the game, and Reinhart had two goals 4:39 apart.

Makar and Manson responded for Colorado in the first 52 seconds of the second. It was the first time in NHL history that two defensemen from the same team scored in the first minute of a period.

Nichushkin tied it at 3 when deflected Makar’s shot from the point at 4:35. But Ekman-Larsson put Florida back in front with his eighth goal of the season at 8:50 of the second.

That ended Prosvetov’s day after he allowed four goals on 13 shots.

“I didn’t like some of the first four goals,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I certainly didn’t like the fourth one.”

Before the game, Colorado placed defenseman Bowen Byram on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Panthers center Sam Bennett departed with an upper-body injury, but Maurice said he is not concerned about it.


Panthers: Wrap up a four-game road trip at St. Louis on Tuesday night.

Avalanche: Host the Boston Bruins on Monday night.