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Matthew Tkachuk scores two goals and the Panthers defeat the Coyotes 6-2

Wed, Jan 24, 2024
NHL News (AP)

Matthew Tkachuk scores two goals and the Panthers defeat the Coyotes 6-2

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - Matthew Tkachuk scored twice and the Florida Panthers defeated the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 on Wednesday night, in a game with two fights in the first seven seconds.

Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Anton Lundell and Jonah Gadjovich also scored for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves.

"It was awesome," Tkachuk said of his team's performance. "Tons of energy from our team before the game even started. Not too thrilled with the way it ended over there in Arizona. I thought we brought it tonight and we brought it from the start. It's good to see everybody pitch in and just have a really good group effort."

Dylan Guenther and Logan Cooley scored for the Coyotes while Karel Vejmelka made 37 saves.

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"We were all not connected, not urgent enough, our execution was not there, our passing was not there, our shooting was not there," Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. "It's an off night. It's one of those nights."

The game kicked off with two fights in the first seven seconds, first between Ryan Lomberg and Jack McBain, then Gadjovich and Liam O'Brien.

Players from both sides met at center ice during pre-game warm-ups prior to the game, with the Panthers contingent unhappy after Arizona forward Jason Zucker left Florida forward Nick Cousins with a concussion after hitting him from behind in the last meeting between these two teams on Jan. 2.

Zucker was in the pre-game meet-up but was not involved in the brawl following puck drop.

"We said a lot of words," Gadjovich said. "Not a lot of nice words that I probably shouldn't repeat, but sometimes stuff like that happens and we're here to answer the bell."

Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov had an assist in his first game back from a lower-body injury which kept him out of the team's past three games.

Defenseman Gustav Forsling also returned to the lineup for Florida and notched two assists after missing the team's previous game in Nashville while on family leave.

Reinhart extended his point streak to 11 games and notched his 60th point of the season, becoming the fourth player in franchise history to do so in 47 games or fewer.

It was the 1,813th career regular-season game for Panthers coach Paul Maurice, second-most in NHL history.

"I've had a bunch of numbers, but they don't necessarily resonate a whole lot, but for whatever it was, today's did," Maurice said. "That's a lot of really good people I've worked with and it's also a lot of games that my family has had to grind to just as much as me and everybody else. Pro sports is a wonderful place, but not a particularly forgiving place to work. So, to get to that number, I would say it's special to me."

UP NEXT

Coyotes: Visit Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Panthers: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

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