Reinhart hat trick leads Panthers to Blue Jackets 8-4


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Sam Reinhart scored his fifth career hat trick to lift the Florida Panthers against the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-4 on Monday for their fourth straight win.

Mason Marchment had two goals and four assists for a career-high six points to help Florida secure first place 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 falling,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. “Just great goals. It was quite entertaining to watch them globetrotting. A really fun game for them.

Anton Lundell had a career-high five assists to rank third among rookies this season with 22 and tied the franchise record.

“We came to play and everything went well,” Lundell said. “We knew where to put the puck. It’s a night I will remember.

The Panthers’ 75 goals in January are the most by an NHL team in a calendar month in the past 25 seasons. Florida’s 12 wins this month is a team record.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots for his 23rd win and sixth in a row against Columbus, where he played seven seasons.

Patrik Laine scored twice, and Gus Nyquist and Emil Bemstrom also scored for the Blue Jackets, who lost their eighth straight to the Panthers – including a 9-2 thrashing 16 days ago – and fourth of five home matches. Elvis Merzlikins, who allowed four goals on 11 shots in the first period, made 11 saves in the second period before Joonas Korpisalo came on in the third period, making 13 saves.

Marchment gave the Panthers the lead 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 high-range shot from the baseline at 3:23.

“First-half goals always help,” Marchment said. “We just rolled four lines and played hard. I think we did a good job tonight.

Nyquist’s wrist from the blue line put Columbus on the board at 4:20, before Barkov made it 3-1, 32 seconds into a Panthers power play for his sixth team-leading score on the power play.

Reinhart once netted a perfect pass from Marchment in the rush to make it 4-1, before Laine made it 4-2 with seven seconds left in the first half thanks to a steal from Jakub Voracek.

Reinhart’s third goal on a breakaway at 4:27 made it 5-2 before Bemstrom took the lead 1:07 later, burying a pass behind Jack Roslevic’s net.

Laine had Columbus within a goal at 11:45 of the second, but Tippett scored at 17:07 and Weegar touched the net 15 seconds later to make it 7-4. Marchment gave Florida an 8-4 lead 27 seconds into the third period.

“They’re a dangerous team,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “They are fast, quick in transition, have guys who can finish and play with a lot of confidence. The last thing you want to do is flip the puck. We went back there, then we resumed the hunt.

MARKING MACHINES

Reinhart notched his ninth game with multiple assists of the season and has five goals and 14 assists in his last 12 games. Barkov has scored his sixth goal in his last seven games and has 21 for the season in just 32 games.

WALKING ON

Marchment scored for the fourth game in a row and extended his scoring streak to four games (six goals, four assists) in his second multi-goal game. His eight goals and 15 assists this season are both career highs.

ALL-STAR PERFORMANCE

Huberdeau, heading to the All-Star Game, extended his NHL assists lead to 46 and points lead to 63 with his assist on Barkov’s goal. Over his last 25 games, Huberdeau has amassed 43 points and 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.

PANTHER SPIKES

Lundell became the fifth Panthers rookie to record four points in a game and only the second to record four assists in a single game, joining Juho Lammikko (on November 19, 2018).

LOOSE WOOL

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.

INJURY UPDATE

Blue Jackets forward Eric Robinson suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return to the game.

BACK TO BACK

Columbus wrapped up its sixth straight set of the season on Monday, going 5-6-0 in Game 1 and 2-4-0 in Game 2. The Panthers will wrap up their sixth straight game, having gone 4-2-0 and 3-2-0 in their second games so far.

FELT HEART

“It was fun to score and make the game closer, but it doesn’t warm my heart at all at this stage.” — Patrik Laine on his two goals in a losing effort.

FOLLOWING

Panthers: At the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

Columbus: in Washington on February 8.

By NICOLE KRAFT
Associated press

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