Panthers stay unbeaten, beat Coyotes 5-3 to move to 6-0

SUNRISE, Fla.- (AP) — Frank Vatrano and Joe Thornton each scored their first goals of the season and the Florida Panthers stretched their unbeaten streak to six games with a 5-3 victory over the winless Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.

Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad also scored goals for the Panthers.

Spencer Knight made 18 saves. Brandon Montour had two assists.

Liam O’Brien and Phil Kessel scored late goals for the Coyotes. Clayton Keller also scored a goal.

Florida’s 6-0-0 record extends the best start in franchise history and is the first 6-0-0 start in the NHL since Montreal in 2015-16.

The Arizona loss marks the second time in the franchise’s 42 seasons that they don’t have a win after six games (were 0-5-1 to start 2017-18 season)

Carter Hutton made 10 saves before leaving the game after the first period with a lower-body injury. Karel Vejmelka started the second period and stopped 26 shots.

Leading 4-1 midway through the third period, the Panthers seemed to be cruising to an easy victory, but O’Brien scored at 11: 57 to make the score 4-2. Kessel scored 34 seconds later to close the Coyotes to 4-3.

Duclair’s empty-net goal with 38.9 left made the score 5-3 and iced the game.

With the game tied at 1, Vatrano gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead when he found a loose puck in front and swept it past Vejmelka at 6:00 of the second.

Ekblad’s power-play goal came on a shot from the point that may have hit a Coyotes player before it went into the net and put the Panthers ahead 3-1.

Huberdeau’s goal at 6:54 of the third stretched the Panthers lead to 4-1.

The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game. Keller pushed the puck between Knight’s pads from the slot with 2:17 left in the first. It was the first time this season that the Panthers opponent scored the games’ first goal.

The lead didn’t last long. Thornton’s power-play goal tied the game at 1-all with 18.8 seconds left in the first. Thornton, who signed to a one-year contract this season, poked in the puck from in front. The goal was the 24-year veteran’s first as a member of the Panthers.

The Panthers outshot the Coyotes 11-1 in the first and 31-8 through two periods.

NOTES: Panthers C Sam Reinhart his recorded 300th NHL point with an assist on Thornton’s goal…This is only the third time in the franchise’s 28-year history that the Panthers have at least 10 standings points through six games, joining last season (11 points) and 1996-97 (10). The fewest Florida ever had after six games was two in 2012-13, Jonathan Huberdeau’s rookie season. … Coyotes D Conor Timmons sustained a lower-body injury and did not return for the third period. C Ryan Dzingel did not return after suffering an upper-body injury…This was the start of a season-long six-game road trip for Arizona. The Coyotes aren’t home again until facing Seattle on Nov. 6.


Coyotes: Visit Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Panthers: Host Boston on Wednesday.