SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Andrei Kuzmenko scored the go-ahead goal with 4:57 left to help the Vancouver Canucks beat the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Saturday night.
Quinn Hughes, Carson Soucy, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser also scored for Vancouver, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Casey DeSmith made 34 saves.
“He went to the net with vengeance tonight,” Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said of Kuzmenko. “He was in front battling. Those are the things we are looking for. If he has effort like that, he is a dominant player.”
Sam Reinhart scored two third-period goals to rally the Panthers from a 3-1 deficit into a 3-3 tie with 5:59 left. Aleksander Barkov also scored for Florida while Evan Rodrigues picked up two assists. Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves.
“He has continued to improve himself every year and he worked incredibly hard this summer to be one of our fittest athletes,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “You can tell he’s got the legs.”
Hughes opened the scoring for Vancouver with a quick shot from the point on the power play with 9:51 to go in the first. Barkov was credited a goal to make it 1-1 20 seconds later.
Soucy walked into the slot and beat Bobrovsky with a wrist shot on the power play with 9:19 to go in the second. Pettersson extended the lead to 3-1 less than a minute later, sending a shot through traffic off of a backhand feed from Kuzmenko.
Reinhart and Rodrigues teamed up for both Florida goals in the third, before Kuzemko scored off a rebound to put Vancouver up for good. Panthers forward Steven Lorentz crashed into Bobrovsky, leaving him unable to contest the shot.
Boeser sealed the game with an empty-net goal with 2:10 left.
“The crowd started getting into it at 3-3 and in the last couple years, we’ve let a lead like that slip away,” Hughes said. “It was big for us to hold our ground and have confidence. (DeSmith) made some big saves and we had guys who were ready to play and wanted to win the game.”
NOTES: F Ilya Mikheyev picked up an assist in his season debut for the Canucks. He played for the first time since a knee injury in January. … The Panthers continue to be without C Sam Bennett, still out with a lower-body injury. Florida is hoping he can play Tuesday. … Panthers D Oliver Ekman-Larsson played against the Canucks for the first time since they bought out his contract in July. The $19.3 million buyout was the fifth-most expensive in NHL history.