DENVER (AP) — The Florida Panthers missed on two breakaways in the second period. Reilly Smith made sure they cashed in on their third.
Smith scored a short-handed goal to break a third-period tie, and the Panthers beat the reeling Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Friday night.
Jason Demers had a goal and an assist, and Michael Matheson also scored for Florida. James Reimer made 30 saves.
“It came down to a couple bounces and fortunately those bounces were on our side tonight,” Smith said.
The Panthers finished 1-1-1 on their three-game road trip, which included a shootout loss in Winnipeg on Thursday night.
“Tough game, emotional game for us last night in Winnipeg, and then the guys came in tonight and dug deep into the tank to pull out as much energy as they could,” Florida coach Tom Rowe said. “It was real impressive.”
Jaromir Jagr didn’t assist on any of the Florida goals and remains three points behind Mark Messier for second place on the NHL’s career scoring list. Jagr has 1,884 points and now returns home for five games as he tries to pass the Hall of Famer.
Jagr was on the ice for Demers’ goal and was stopped on a breakaway early in the second period that would have given Florida the lead. He did draw 4 penalty minutes.
The second penalty drawn by Jagr proved a big play for the Panthers. Derek MacKenzie’s clearing attempt from deep in the Florida zone bounced off the opposite boards and to center ice. Smith picked it up and went in alone on Calvin Pickard, beating him with a backhand at 6:37 of the third.
Matheson scored at 10:49 to give Florida a two-goal lead.
“We are resilient. Playing back-to-back games is always tough,” Smith said. “It is nice to finish this road trip .500; that’s always your goal.”
Fedor Tyutin scored his first goal of the season to give the Avalanche a 1-0 advantage in the second, but they couldn’t build on it. They lost their seventh straight at home and are 4-10-1 at Pepsi Center.
Colorado was 0 for 6 on the power play and gave up its first short-handed goal of the season.
“This is brutal,” said Nathan MacKinnon, who assisted on the only Avalanche goal. “Our (penalty kill) was good tonight, but our power play was horrible. We didn’t make any good plays. We forced everything. We knew they were going to come hard and we weren’t ready for it.”
Demers tied it when his skate knocked in his own rebound, and the goal held up after a video review.
Colorado called a timeout late in the third and pulled Pickard for an extra skater but couldn’t score on Reimer, who is 5-0-1 in his career against the Avalanche.
Notes: Pickard made 20 saves. … Avalanche G Semyon Varlamov was scratched for the second straight game due to a groin injury. … Jagr and Colorado’s Jarome Iginla have scored 1,369 goals combined. Jagr has 755, which ranks third all-time. … Avalanche forward Joe Colborne missed his third game with a lower-body injury.
Panthers: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
Avalanche: At the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.