Reinhart’s overtime goal secures a 3-2 victory for the Florida Panthers over the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern final

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Florida Panthers players celebrates after scoring in an overtime

The Florida Panthers found themselves in an ideal situation. Sam Reinhart was positioned perfectly in front of the net, with the advantage of a power play. And just like that, the game was won, and the series was tied.

Reinhart, who leads the NHL in power-play goals this season, scored his 65th goal of the year, securing a crucial victory for the Panthers in overtime. They defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night, leveling the Eastern Conference Final at two games apiece.

Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov assisted Reinhart’s game-winning goal, recognizing the importance of finding him when he’s open. Reinhart has been lethal on power plays this season, scoring 31 goals on them, with an impressive 32% success rate.

Florida forward Carter Verhaeghe praised Reinhart’s skill, confident that he would convert the opportunity. It was a fitting end to a game where Florida’s first two goals were unconventional, coming from deflections and rebounds.

New York Rangers players congratulate eachother after the game

Verhaeghe and Sam Bennett also contributed goals for Florida, while Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves and even assisted on a goal. Vincent Trocheck and Alexis Lafrenière scored for the Rangers, with Igor Shesterkin making 37 saves.

The series now heads to New York for Game 5, with both teams having won one game each in the opposing team’s arena. Game 6 will return to Sunrise, with the Prince of Wales Trophy, awarded to the Eastern Conference champions, set to be present.

“It’s not the outcome we hoped for,” commented Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad. “We have three games left, and we need to win them. We’ll do our best in Game 5 when we’re back home.”

Blake Wheeler, returning to the Rangers lineup after an absence since mid-February, was penalized for hooking Aleksander Barkov just 59 seconds into overtime. The Panthers quickly capitalized on the power play, with Barkov assisting Sam Reinhart for the winning goal.

Igor Shesterkin looks at the puck as it goes away from him

Rangers defenseman Adam Fox defended Wheeler’s penalty, stating it wasn’t a bad decision considering the Panthers’ strong power play.

Florida’s first goal came from Sam Bennett midway through the second period. After his initial shot was blocked by Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, Bennett managed to push the puck across the goal line in a second attempt.

Shortly after, Carter Verhaeghe scored for Florida in an unusual manner. The puck, redirected by Matthew Tkachuk, bounced off Ryan Lindgren’s stick, then off Shesterkin, and finally off Lindgren’s body. Verhaeghe, almost like in baseball, swatted the puck out of the air for a 2-1 lead.

Reflecting on his goal, Verhaeghe admitted he wasn’t sure what the puck hit before he scored.

Including playoff games, Florida has an impressive record over the past two seasons. They’ve won 81 out of 89 games where they were leading after the second period.


By Christopher Kamila

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