Panthers Beat Golden Knights – Hoffman Gets Winner

SUNRISE, Fla. — Mike Hoffman’s third-period goal put Florida ahead to stay and the Panthers defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 Saturday night.

Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist and Frank Vatrano also scored a goal for the Panthers, who won for the fourth time in five games. James Reimer made 34 saves.

James Reimer Florida Panthers
James Reimer, Florida Panthers (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Max Pacioretty scored for the Golden Knights, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 shots.

Vegas lost its fourth straight game for the first time in its short franchise history.

Hoffman broke a 1-1 tie when he grabbed a loose puck along the boards on the right side, skated in, and slid the puck between Fleury’s pads with 13:47 left in the third. Hoffman leads the Panthers with 24 goals.

Vatrano’s empty-net goal with 1:16 left stretched the lead to 3-1.

Barkov put the Panthers ahead 1-0 just 12 seconds in. Barkov grabbed a loose puck at centre ice and fired it past Fleury.

Barkov’s goal missed the franchise record for fastest goal by two seconds. That record is shared by Johan Garpenlov (Oct. 17, 1996) and Barkov (April 5, 2016.)

Vegas tied it at 1-all on Pacioretty’s goal. He punched in a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle at 8:07 of the first.

Evgenii Dadonov was awarded a penalty shot after he was tripped by Brayden McNabb at 57.9 of the first, but his shot went off the thigh of Fleury and hit the crossbar.

NOTES: Panthers forwards Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan each made their debut after being acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh on Friday. Brassard recorded an assist. … D MacKenzie Weeger returned after missing four games with a concussion. … The Panthers honoured former captain Olli Jokinen as part of the club’s 25th anniversary ‘Legacy Saturdays’ series before the game. … The Golden Knights are 12 for 12 on the penalty kill in their last six games


Golden Knights: Visit Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday

Panthers: Host St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.


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Paul Gereffi, The Associated Press