VANCOUVER — Nick Bjugstad scored a goal and added an assist as the Florida Panthers overcame a shaky start to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 Wednesday night.
The Panthers trailed 2-1 midway through the first period but battled back with three straight goals, the last two just 1:11 apart.
Evgenii Dadonov, Jamie McGinn, on a power play, and Alexander Petrovic also scored for Florida (25-23-6). The Panthers are 6-1-0 in their last seven games and are seven points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Bo Horvat had a goal and two assists for Vancouver (22-29-6). Brock Boeser, on a power play, and Michael Del Zotto also scored for the Canucks, who are 1-6-0 in their last seven games.
Florida goalie James Reimer, making his second consecutive start after missing six games with a groin injury, stopped 34 shots. Canuck goaltender Jacob Markstrom was replaced after allowing four goals on 14 shots in the first period. Anders Nilsson stopped all 20 shots he faced in relief.
The Canucks outshot Florida 13-6 in the second period and cut the score to 4-3 on Boeser’s goal on a 5-on-3 power play.
The Panthers led 4-2 after a first period that saw goals scored on some strange bounces.
The Canucks opened the scoring just 37 seconds into the game. Del Zotto took a shot that Reimer stopped. The rebound floated high in the air and appeared to deflect off Panther defenceman Aaron Ekblad’s stick into the net.
Dadonov tied the game on a breakaway at 7:36. He took a long pass from Bjugstad and fought off a check from Alex Edler.
The Canucks regained the led just 34 seconds later after Sven Baertschi forced a turnover behind the Florida net. The puck landed in front of the net where Horvat beat a diving Reimer.
The Panther comeback began with a strange power-play goal at 13:01. Ekblad took a shot from a sharp angle that hit McGinn on the back, flipped over his shoulder and into the net. Former Canuck Jared McCann set up the next goal, digging the puck out of the corner and passing it to Petrovic, who scored his first of the season at 17:25.
Bjugstad made it a two-goal game at 18:36, drilling a shot from the face-off circle that beat Markstom on the short side.
NOTES: There was a moment of silence prior to the game for the shooting victims at a high school in Parkland, Fla., which is near the Panthers’ training facility. … The Canucks announced Wednesday GM Jim Benning has been given a contract extension. … Former Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo, who missed 26 games with a groin injury, was activated off injured reserve and backed up Reimer.
Jim Morris, THE CANADIAN PRESS