SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Even with his mind on the baby due back home, James Reimer got the job done in an unexpected start.
Reimer stopped 31 shots, Jonathan Marchessault scored a power-play goal in overtime and the Florida Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
Reimer missed the previous two games on the road to be home with his wife, April, as they expect their first child any day.
“You never know when it’s going to come. You just want everyone, mom and baby, to be healthy. That’s the main things you worry about,” Reimer said. “I figured that things are pretty safe at home . although maybe I should go check my cellphone.”
Reimer got the start after Roberto Luongo sustained a minor injury in warmups.
“It was probably good. He didn’t have to think too much about the start until maybe a few hours before the game. He played outstanding,” Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe said. “(Luongo) got hurt this morning in warmup, preskate. Nothing major. It’s all minor stuff. He’ll be fine by the end of the All-Star break.”
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Marchessault took a pass from Keith Yandle along the goal line to the left of the net and fired the puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy at 1:49 of overtime.
The Panthers went on the power play after Tyler Johnson was called for interference against Jason Demers.
“I made a bad play there. He tried to jump behind me and kind of just grabbed me,” Johnson said.
Jussi Jokinen scored short-handed for the Panthers, who won for the first time in six games that went past regulation.
“It was huge. We didn’t have the success we wanted in OT and in the shootout this year, but we came out strong,” Marchessault said. “It was a good overall game for us.”
Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa Bay, and Vasilevskiy made 35 saves. The Lightning have lost four of five and went 2-2-2 on a road trip that began Jan. 16 in Los Angeles.
“We’re extremely frustrated right now,” coach Jon Cooper said. “Let’s be honest, that was a long road trip. It was so long we sat through two presidents.”
Jokinen gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Vincent Trocheck passed from the right circle across to Jokinen, who shot from below the left circle and into the net at 9:55 of the first. It was the fourth short-handed goal of the season for the Panthers.
The Lightning tied it less than two minutes later on a power-play goal by Kucherov, who one-timed a pass from Jonathan Drouin past Reimer at 11:33. Kucherov leads the Lightning with 19 goals.