After giving up late goals in their previous two games, the Panthers have played pretty good third periods in their past two outings.
On Thursday, Florida's hard-charging play in the third led to a 2-1 shootout win over the host Buffalo Sabres.
Florida outshot Montreal 16-10 in the third period Tuesday when it couldn't find the net in an eventual 2-1 loss to the Canadiens.
"There is a response level where the guys are pushing,'' said coach Peter Horachek, whose team gave up goals in the third period to New York and Nashville before starting its three-game road trip in Montreal.
"In Montreal, we didn't play great for two periods, but we were close enough to be in it. We had the chances at 10-4 in the third. We just couldn't score at that point. The effort to get back in it was there.''
On Thursday, the Panthers went into the third trailing the Sabres 1-0 despite outplaying their hosts for much of the evening.
Florida continued its strong play in the third and tied the score midway through when Tom Gilbert's long shot was deflected in by Brad Boyes.
Boyes would later have the go-ahead goal disallowed after a whistle was blown when Dmitry Kulikov took a stick to the face. Florida ended up outshooting the Sabres 35-24 during the game – and 9-7 in the third.
"I thought we came at them, had our chances,'' Boyes said.
Thursday's win in Buffalo was noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, it was Florida's first road victory since Dec. 19.
Florida improved to 7-17-3 when its opponent scores first and is now 3-17-5 when trailing after two periods.
Boyes' third-period goal gave the Panthers a 40-39 goal advantage over their opponents in that period this season – the only period in which Florida is on the positive side of the ledger.
"It's important for us to believe we can come back, to want to come back,'' Horachek said. "It's a pretty good positive from our standpoint.''
Shawn Matthias was scratched Thursday and replaced by Drew Shore against the Sabres but could be back against former coach Pete DeBoer and the Devils on Saturday.
"I don't look at the [scratch] as being anything negative, just something you do,'' Horachek said. "Hopefully, it makes him a better player. It's not a negative. I didn't rip him. Sometimes players need to focus on what it takes to be a better player.''
• Kulikov returned to the game after leaving in the third. Despite being hit in the mouth with a stick and leaving a trail of blood on the ice, no penalty was called.
"He had some problems with his teeth but he's OK; he's a tough kid who plays through that stuff,'' Horachek said.
• Dylan Olsen rejoined the team in New Jersey but isn't expected to play Saturday. He's missed the past three games with an undisclosed injury.
"He's in town because we're having a team dinner,'' Horachek said. "He's been skating more and more. I don't think he's at the point where he can push for a whole game. We just want him to get better.''
• The Panthers held an optional skate Friday afternoon at Prudential Center with less than half the team taking part.