- Associated Press - Friday, December 22, 2017

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - One impressive play by Jonathan Huberdeau fueled a solid rally for the Florida Panthers.

Huberdeau scored two goals, James Reimer made 29 saves and the Panthers beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Friday night.

Vincent Trocheck and Connor Brickley also scored for Florida, and Aleksander Barkov had two assists. It was the Panthers‘ first win over the Wild since a 2-1 victory on Jan. 3, 2016.

Minnesota dropped to 1-2 on its four-game trip. Ryan Suter and Daniel Winnik scored for the Wild, and Alex Stalock stopped 30 shots.

Minnesota led 2-1 after two, but Florida rallied in the third.

“We made a couple of mistakes and they put it in,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Then you’re fighting from behind and chasing … it’s a blown game.”

Huberdeau tied it at 2 with some nifty stickwork 2 minutes into the period. He scored his 10th goal of the season by sending a backhand past Stalock.

“It was a highlight-reel goal,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “It pumped our bench up and you could see our game take off after that.”

Brickley then slammed home a rebound after Stalock stopped Keith Yandle’s shot from the point, putting the Panthers in front at 11:14. Huberdeau added an empty-netter with just under six seconds left.

Brickley was going to sit out, but was pressed into action when Jamie McGinn was a late scratch after experiencing upper-body discomfort during the pregame skate. He is day to day.

“It’s kind of hard to put in words really, the feeling,” Brickley said. “You just have to be ready no matter what. Crazy things happen in this game. I was excited to get the opportunity to get out there.”

Stalock blamed poor ice and the inability to get any consistency going with his troubles in goal.

“It’s tough when the puck’s bouncing. I don’t know how I didn’t get (control of) that (third) one but the ice here is not great and it kept bouncing,” he said.

The Wild and Panthers exchanged goals in the first.

After playing short-handed for most of the first six minutes, the Wild capitalized on their first power-play opportunity. Suter converted a tip-in for his fifth at 8:09.

Matt Dumba, who had an assist on the play, extended his point streak to four games. He has three goals and two assists over that stretch.

Trocheck tied at 16:53 when his wrist shot from the top of the circle deflected off Stalock’s left pad on the short side. It was Trocheck’s team-leading 14th goal and gave him 12 points over his last 11 games.

Winnik put Minnesota in front midway through the second period when he knocked in his own rebound. Winnik took possession at his own blue line and skated past two Florida defenders on his way to his first goal since Oct. 28 vs. Pittsburgh.

“I think I’ve been playing good hockey of late,” Winnik said. “Sometimes the goals don’t come. It’s finally nice to get that streak busted for myself.”

Reimer, who was playing in his eighth consecutive game since Roberto Luongo suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 4, made the initial save, but Winnik was able to beat him under his glove on the rebound chance.

NOTES: Wild C Matt Cullen played in his 1,400th career game, making him only the 38th player in NHL history and fourth American to achieve that feat. … Panthers F Denis Malgin continues to impress since being called up from the minors on Nov. 27. He has seven points after assisting on Trocheck’s goal. … Mikael Granlund’s assist on Suter’s goal gives him 18 points in his last 21games. … Trocheck leads Florida with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists).

UP NEXT

Wild: Visit Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Panthers: Host Ottawa on Saturday night.


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