NEWARK, N.J. (AP)Mackenzie Blackwood made 34 saves and the New Jersey Devils beat the Panthers 7-3 Tuesday night, handing Florida a second-straight regulation loss after it went 11 games without one.
Andreas Johnsson scored twice and defenseman P.K. Subban had the go-ahead goal as the Devils had their biggest offensive output of the season.
”We’ve been looking for offense,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. ”Hopefully we can use this a springboard.”
Florida lost for the first time in regulation against the Rangers on Monday at Madison Square Garden after a 10-0-1 start.
”The last two games we haven’t really grabbed those momentum swings,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. ”We allowed two goals in 30 seconds in a 4-3 game and next thing you know, it’s 6-3.”
Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha, Ty Smith and Jimmy Vesey also scored for the Devils, who are off to a 6-3-2 start.
”Our skating and our compete were evident all night,” Ruff added. ”We had our defense joining the rush. Once we got the puck, we were on the move.”
With the score tied 3-3, Subban’s shot from the point late in the second period eluded Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight for his first goal of the season. Zacha gave the Devils a two-goal cushion with a power-play goal at 4:44 of the third. Smith and Vesey closed out the scoring.
Sam Bennett – returning to the Panthers’ lineup after missing four games with an upper body injury – opened the scoring at 3:53 of the first, knocking the puck past Blackwood for his fifth goal of the year.
Johnsson tied the contest on the power play at 15:46.
Hischier put the Devils ahead 2-1, tipping a shot by Smith past Knight.
The second period started with three goals in the first two minutes. Florida captain Aleksander Barkov scored his team-leading eighth goal at 24 seconds before Owen Tippett put the Panthers ahead 3-2 at 1:29 with his third of the season.
”We don’t want to trade goals back and forth,” Barkov said. ”That’s not us. We want to play like a solid simple game.”
Barkov’s goal was the 189th of his career, passing Olli Jokinen for the most goals in Panthers franchise history.
”I know so many great players played in this organization and Ollie Jokinen played for a long time and played unbelievable hockey here,” the 26-year-old Barkov said. ”To be in the same category with him was never even a dream and now it’s like reality.”
Johnsson tied the contest at 3 with his second of the game and sixth of the season at 1:58 of the second.
”I feel like we matched their skating,” said Johnsson, who has already exceeded his goals output of five last season. ”We played really smart today. The whole team had energy. It was awesome to see.”
NOTES: Devils F Miles Wood, who was injured in a preseason game, would be out indefinitely following right hip surgery. … Devils forward Tyce Thompson made his season debut. … Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton missed his third straight game with a lower body injury. … New Jersey also scratched forwards Yegor Sharangovich and Mason Geertsen. … The Panthers scratched forwards Ryan Lomberg and Mason Marchment, who was injured against the Rangers on Monday and defenseman Kevin Connauton. … The teams meet again Nov. 18 and April 2 in Florida.
Devils: Host New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Panthers: Visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
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