SUNRISE — After dropping their first game out of the All-Star break on Tuesday night, the Florida Panthers got back in the win column on Thursday, defeating the Washington Capitals 4-2.
Ryan Lomberg scored the game winning goal late in the third period and Matthew Tkachuk had three points in the Panthers’ victory.
Florida has won five of their last six games — improving to 32-15-4 with the win.
Here’s Thursday’s takeaways.
Reinhart chasing 40
The race to 40 is nearing its end for Sam Reinhart.
Entering Thursday’s matchup against the Capitals, Reinhart’s 37 goals was second most in the NHL.
Reinhart became one goal closer to the illustrious 40 in a season Thursday night.
With the Panthers on the power play late in the second, Reinhart tied the game with 2:28 left in the period for his 38th of the season. His previous career high was 33 (2021-2022).
Reinhart leads the NHL in power play goals with 21.
If Florida needs a goal, or a boost this season — as they did tonight — Reinhart is usually there. But when asked about the offensive contributions post-game, head coach Paul Maurice highlighted Reinhart’s ability to play a 200-foot game.
“If he doesn’t score for four games, it’s going to be very well played defensively. He’s not going to cheat for it,” Maurice said. “I think he’s had such a wonderful start… he’s just been a great player for us whether he scores or not and he’s earned everything that he’s gotten this year.”
Another multi-point game for Tkachuk
Matthew Tkachuk has been one of the biggest contributors to the Panthers offense in 2024 — picking up 24 points in his last 14 games before Thursday’s game against the Capitals.
Once again, Tkachuk was all over the score sheet on Thursday, picking up three assists en route to the Panthers 4-2 win.
“I thought the way we played in the second period and in the third, it’s got to be a staple for us and we’ve done it for big chunks of the season,” Tkachuk said. “We got away from it the last little bit at home. It felt good to get back.”
Tkachuk has 27 points since Jan 2. (15 games) — seven of those being multi-point nights. He’s now scored at least two points in a game 15 times this season.
He is second on the team in scoring with 54 points in 51 games (Reinhart is first with 63 points).
Ryan Lomberg calls game
Tied 2-2 with just over five minutes left in regulation, Florida’s depth line forwards led them to victory,
Paul Maurice entrusted his fourth-line to play bruiser against Washington’s top-line at times during the third period on Thursday.
Being a thorn in the Capitals’ backs was one job for Ryan Lomberg and co. but so was getting the winning goal.
With 5:32 left in the third, Lomberg roofed a shot top shelf past Darcy Kuemper to put the Panthers up 3-2. This was just his third goal of the season — with his last coming 35 games before in Nov. 14 against San Jose.
“The most important thing for us is that we win the hockey game,” Lomberg said. “I think if we’re not scoring and we’re not winning then it’s time to look in the mirror. But we’ve been doing a good job of winning games.”
Lomberg continued. “It’s obviously good to contribute,” when speaking about his eventual game winning goal.
The fourth-line also drew two penalties on Thursday, one of which led to Reinhart’s game-tying power play goal.