The Panthers had a lot of ground to make up on the Ottawa Senators in a muddled Atlantic Division.
Florida got two points it desperately needed Tuesday night.
Thanks in large part to a Jonathan Marchessault goal with 6:03 left, the Panthers picked up some valuable real estate with a 6-5 win at BB&T Center.
The six goals were the most scored by the Panthers this season and the 11 combined goals are also most so far.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Marchessault’s goal — his 15th of the season — gave Florida its first lead since early in the first period as the two teams put on an offensive show through the first 2 1/2 periods.
The first eight goals of the night were scored before the 30-minute mark.
The Panthers, who will go for their first three-game winning streak of the season Friday against visiting Anaheim, jumped to the initial lead when Mike Matheson scored the first of two 2:24 in.
The visiting Senators trailed 2-1 after Mark Pysyk scored 5:22 into the game but seemingly took control after that as they scored three unanswered goals as the Florida defense unraveled a bit.
Ottawa took a 3-2 lead into the second period on Ryan Dzingel’s goal with just over 30 seconds left in the first. The Sens then made it 4-2 a mere 2:19 into the second when Chris Wideman scored.
Florida, which came into the night six points behind the Sens with three more games played, turned things on again and scored two goals of its own to tie the score.
Colton Sceviour got the Panthers going with his first goal since getting a hat trick in Detroit on Oct. 30 when he followed up Jason Demers’ shot and pushed it past goalie Mike Condon.
Sceviour’s goal came 18 seconds after the Sens made it 4-2.
Midway through the period, Matheson tied it up with his second of the night as his shot found its way through traffic and past Condon.
In the third, Marchessault gave the Panthers the lead back as he jammed up Condon as he mishandled playing the puck behind the net. Marchessault stole it and was able to jam it into the back of what was an empty net.
Florida iced its win when Jason Demers literally scored into an empty net with 34.5 seconds left. Ottawa pulled back within one with 11 ticks left on the clock.
Ottawa came out of the All-Star break holding one of three postseason positions in the Atlantic as it trailed Montreal by seven points yet led Boston, Toronto and Florida in the race for a postseason spot.