SUNRISE, Fla. — Alex Lyon made 29 saves for his second consecutive victory and the Florida Panthers beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3 on Saturday night.
With starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky injured Thursday night in Montreal and Spencer Knight off to the American Hockey League on a conditioning stint, the Panthers dressed their primary AHL goalies. Lyon started after making 23 saves in relief of Bobrovsky in Montreal, and Mack Guzda was the backup as the Knoxville native became the first player born in Tennessee to dress in an NHL game.
“These are the kind of games you play for. We just had so many guys digging in,” Lyon said. “There were massive points on the line. This is fun and where you test your true mettle. I enjoyed it.”
Anton Lundell, Eetu Luostarinen, Carter Verhaeghe, Gustav Forsling and Sam Reinhart scored for Florida. The Panthers are 4-0-1 in their last five games.
The Panthers lost defenseman Aaron Ekblad in the first period to an upper-body injury, and center Sam Bennett left, also with an upper-body concern, in the second. Florida also played without Forsling for a time in the second although he returned.
Florida coach Paul Maurice said neither player would be specified as hurt but tightened up and could not return.
“This is all a function of what we are going through and I am shocked it did not happen before,’’ Maurice said. “We got off the plane at 4:30 in the morning (Friday) and you get these kind of over-use injuries playing our kind of schedule.”
Matt Boldy, Joel Eriksson Ek and Jared Spurgeon scored for the Wild, and Filip Gustavsson made 22 saves. Minnesota has lost two in a row.
The Panthers built a 2-0 lead on Lundell’s goal with 12.9 seconds remaining in the first and Luostarinen scoring 1:40 into the second.
Minnesota twice cut it to a goal only to see the Panthers expand it to two again.
Boldy’s goal at 8:56 of the second was followed up by Verhaeghe with 18 seconds remaining in the period. Eriksson Ek scored on the power play at 4:37 of the third only to see Florida make it 4-2 on Forsling’s shot from the left circle three minutes later. Spurgeon brought the Wild back within a goal with 1:26 remaining before Reinhart buried one into an empty net for the final goal of the night.
“We actually liked our game pretty much the whole night, we just did not get the result,’’ Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “We did not score enough and we need to find a way, especially 5-on-5, to do more. If you’re not scoring, we need to keep it out of our net and we did not do that.”
NOTES: Florida placed center Eric Staal on injured reserve after he went into concussion protocol following a hit from Montreal defenseman Mike Matheson. The NHL fined Matheson the maximum-allowed $5,000 on Friday.
Wild: At Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.
Panther: At New York Rangers on Monday night.
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