Reinhart hat trick leads Panthers over Blue Jackets 8-4
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sam Reinhart had his fifth career hat trick to lift the Florida Panthers over the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-4 Monday for their fourth straight win.
Mason Marchment had two goals and four assists for a career-high six points to help Florida secure the top spot in the NHL standings heading into the All-Star break. Aleksander Barkov, Owen Tippett and MacKenzie Weegar also scored, and Reinhart added an assist.
“The puck was just falling,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. “Just beautiful goals. It was kind of fun to just watch them globetrot around. A really fun game for them.”
Anton Lundell had a career-high five assists to put him third among rookies this season with 22 and tied the franchise record.
“We came to play and everything went our way,” Lundell said. “We knew where to put the puck. This is one night that I will remember.”
The Panthers’ 75 goals in January are the most by any NHL team in a calendar month in the last 25 seasons. Florida’s 12 wins this month is a team record.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots for his 23rd win and sixth straight against Columbus, where he played seven seasons.
Patrik Laine had two goals, and Gus Nyquist and Emil Bemstrom also scored for the Blue Jackets, who dropped their eighth straight to the Panthers — including a 9-2 drubbing 16 days ago — and fourth of five games at home. Elvis Merzlikins, who gave up four goals on 11 first-period shots, made 11 stops in the second period before Joonas Korpisalo came in for the third period, stopping 13.
Marchment put the Panthers ahead with a shot from the slot just 32 seconds into the game for his fourth straight game with a goal. Reinhart made it 2-0 with a top-shelf shot from the baseline at 3:23.
“First period goals always help,” Marchment said. “We just rolled four lines and played hard. I thought we did a good job tonight.”
Nyquist’s wrister from the blueline put Columbus on the board at 4:20, before Barkov made it 3-1, 32 seconds into a Panthers power-play for his team-leading sixth score with a man advantage.
Reinhart one-timed a perfect pass from Marchment on the rush to make it 4-1, before Laine cut it to 4-2 with seven seconds left in the first period off a steal by Jakub Voracek.
Reinhart’s third goal off a breakaway at 4:27 made it 5-2 before Bemstrom cut into the lead 1:07 later, burying a behind-the-net pass from Jack Roslevic.
Laine pulled Columbus within a goal at 11:45 of the second, but Tippett scored at 17:07 and Weegar hit the net 15 seconds later to make it 7-4. Marchment gave Florida a 8-4 lead 27 seconds into the third period.
“This is a dangerous team,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “They are fast, quick in transition, have guys who can finish, and are playing with a lot of confidence. The last thing you want to do is turn the puck over. We clawed our way back into it, and then we were chasing again.”
Reinhart notched his ninth multi-assist game of the season and has five goals and 14 assists over his past 12 games. Barkov scored his sixth goal in his past seven games and has 21 for the season in just 32 games.
Marchment scored for the fourth consecutive game and extended his point streak to four games (six goals, four assists) in his second multigoal game. His eight goals and 15 assists this season are both career highs.
Huberdeau, who is headed to the All-Star game, extended his NHL assist lead to 46 and point lead to 63 with his helper on Barkov’s goal. Over his past 25 games, Huberdeau has 43 points and has averaged one assist per game this season. He leads Florida with 14 multipoint games this season. He has two goals and eight assists in his last 10 games against Columbus.
Lundell became the fifth Panthers rookie to record four points in a game and just the second to record four assists in a single contest, joining Juho Lammikko (on Nov. 19, 2018).
LAINE ON THE LOOSE
Laine has four goals and two assists in his last two games and 10 goals and nine assists in 15 career games against the Panthers.
Blue Jackets forward Eric Robinson suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return to the game.
Columbus concluded its sixth back-to-back set of the season on Monday, having gone 5-6-0 in the first game and 2-4-0 in the second game. The Panthers will conclude their sixth back-to-back, having gone 4-2-0 and 3-2-0 in their second games so far.
“It was fun to score and make it a tighter game, but it doesn’t warm my heart at all at this point.” — Patrik Laine on his two goals in a losing effort.
Panthers: At the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Columbus: At Washington on Feb. 8.