January 30, 2023

VANCOUVER — Sam Bennett scored twice and the Florida Panthers ended a three-game sled Thursday with a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

VANCOUVER — Sam Bennett scored twice and the Florida Panthers ended a three-game sled Thursday with a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Matthew Tkachuk added a goal and two assists while Gustav Forsling, Ryan Lomberg and Sam Bennett all scored for the Panthers (11-9-4). Spencer Knight made 31 saves.

Dakota Joshua had the only goal for the Canucks (9-12-3), who lost their second straight game.

Vancouver also lost starting goaltender Thatcher Demko on Thursday. The 26-year-old American stopped 15 of 18 shots in the first period before exiting the game with a lower body injury.

He was replaced by Spencer Martin, who made 13 saves.

In the closing seconds of the game, there were a few boos from the crowd at Rogers Arena. After the final whistle, the cheers grew even louder.

An ugly giveaway from Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes sealed the deal midway through the third period.

The defender spun the puck along the boards deep in Canucks territory, leaving Tkachuk and Bennett unmanned. Martin dove to stop Bennett’s subsequent wrist shot, but the puck sailed past him and the Panthers went into the picture, 5-1, 11-11.

Vancouver came into the second half at 12:26. The Canucks won a faceoff in the defensive zone and Joshua sped across the ice with a two-for-one, then sent a quick wrist shot that sailed past Knight to make it 4-1.

Forty-eight seconds earlier, a skillful pass resulted in a goal at the other end of the ice. Carter Verhaeghe and Tkachuk threw the puck back and forth across the slot before clipping it to Bennett, who was stationed behind the door for an easy tap-in.

Florida went into the first break late in the frame after a 59-second offensive burst.

Tkachuk opened the 18-14 first-half scorer and scored his 11th goal of the season with a backhand shot from the slot.

25 seconds later, the former Canuck Forsling scored with a one-time through traffic to make it 2-0 for the Panthers. Sam Reinhart contributed an assist to extend his points streak to five games.

Seconds later, Florida attacked again and shot into Vancouver’s net. Demko stopped a shot from Patric Hornqvist and then grabbed his right leg as Lomberg smashed in the rebound to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.

The goalie stayed in the crease below while a coach came out to look at him. Demko left the ice without putting weight on his right leg with the help of coach and teammate Ilya Mikheyev.

The Canucks later tweeted that he would not be returning to the game.

POWERPLAY BATTLES

The Canucks went 0-to-3 with man advantage and the Panthers were 0-to-2. Vancouver hasn’t scored a power play goal in their last three games.

MR. 900

Hornqvist played his 900th NHL game of the regular season. He has played over 15 seasons for the Nashville Predators, Penguins and Panthers and won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.

LEGENDS DETECTED

The Canucks held a pre-game ceremony to honor three former players who were recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Former goaltender Roberto Luongo and forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin all stood on center ice and watched video highlights of their careers before participating in a ceremonial puck toss.

NEXT

The Canucks continue a four-game homestand Saturday when they host the Arizona Coyotes. The Panthers meet the Kraken in Seattle that night.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 1, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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