Reinhart, Bobrovsky help Panthers edge Lightning
Panthers coach Paul Maurice joined Scotty Bowman (2,141) and Barry Trotz (1,812) as the only NHL coaches to have coached 1,800 games. He is sixth in wins with 837.
Maurice said he’s not yet in their company “Because they’ve got those rings.” Maurice is the only one of the three not to have won the Stanley Cup.
“A lifetime of association with some really fine people,” Maurice said. “I’m mindful of that. It’s not a milestone necessarily, (it’s) a path."
“It's a big win for us against a really good team," Bobrovsky said. “It's always a rivalry.”
“I'm not so sure we were completely physically engaged in this one until we scored (in the third period),” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Kucherov is the 244th player to reach the 300-goal milestone.
The Panthers were the Prince of Wales Trophy winners last year as the top team in the Eastern Conference after Tampa Bay won it the three previous three years.
Reinhart made it 2-0 early in the second period off a nice back-hand pass by Evan Rodrigues.
After Kucherov scored 29 seconds into the third, Reinhart got a short-handed goal to put Florida up 3-1 at 3:11. Tampa Bay got back within one 20 seconds later on Eyssimont’s power-play goal.
Kucherov, the NHL points leader, missed several first-period shifts after taking a stick to the face.
Ekblad had his first goal this season in the first period. Florida is 13-0-2 when scoring first.
Shortly after Ekblad's goal, Bobrovsky made four strong saves on Tampa Bay’s NHL home-leading power play. Bobrovsky also made a lunging glove save on Brayden Point during a breakaway midway through the third.
“He was insane today,” Rodrigues said.
Vasilevskiy kept it a one-goal game with a lunging pad save on Carter Verhaeghe's power-play rebound with four minutes left.
Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos had four shots, a double minor late in the third and finished at minus-3 and is minus-15 this season.
Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev took part in the morning skate but missed his third straight game after taking a shot off the back of his left foot on Dec. 19.
Panthers: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night.
Lightning: Continue a three-game homestand Saturday night against the Rangers.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL