Nick Ritchie’s timing has been good for the Anaheim Ducks the past two games.
Ritchie broke a tie with 1:28 left with his second goal of the game, John Gibson made 42 saves and the Ducks beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Ritchie grabbed a loose puck in front and beat goalie James Reimer to the right side. Ritchie also scored the winning goal in Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Tampa Bay.
“Obviously, being a bigger guy, I like to get to the front of the net,” Ritchie said. “It’s a place where I need to do it on this team. I’ve done a good job of it the last couple of games and I got rewarded for it.”
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Josh Manson also scored to help the Ducks win for the fourth time in five games.
“Anytime you can take two games, especially back-to-back, you’ve got to feel good about ourselves a little bit, but we’ve got lots of room for improvement in the game,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “The most encouraging part for us is we were able to get our feet underneath us and play a decent third period and found a way to get a goal.”
Evgenii Dadonov and Aaron Ekblad scored for Florida, Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists, and Reimer made 22 saves.
The Panthers lost for the fourth time in five games. On Monday, the Panthers gave up the tying goal with 1.8 seconds left in regulation, then lost 5-4 in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks.
“It is frustrating. These kinds of games, we’ve got to at least get a point,” Huberdeau said. “We can’t get scored on late like that. You’ve got to battle through it the whole 60.”
Dadonov gave Florida a 2-1 lead midway through the second period with a power-play goal. Dadonov redirected Huberdeau’s shot from the point. The Ducks tied it at 2 at 12:28 of the second when Ritchie deflected Marcus Pettersson’s point shot.
“We couldn’t find the third goal,” said coach Bob Boughner. “We haven’t been good at winning these 2-1 or 3-2 hockey games lately.”
Manson opened the scoring for the Ducks 15 seconds in, the second-fastest goal in Ducks history. He got the puck at the blue line off the faceoff and his shot bounced off Florida’s Bogdan Kiselevich and past Reimer. Paul Kariya holds the team record of eight seconds, set March 9. 1997, at Colorado.
Ekblad tied it at 3:01 of the second. Aleksander Barkov passed from behind the net out to Ekblad in the right circle and Ekblad one-timed the puck past Gibson.
NOTES: Panthers D Keith Yandle played his 738th straight game to take sole possession of sixth place on the consecutive games list. Yandle last missed a game March 22, 2009 when he was with the Coyotes. … Boughner said goalie Roberto Luongo, out with a knee injury since Friday, might return to the lineup on Friday or Saturday.
Ducks: At Carolina on Friday night.
Panthers: Host Buffalo on Friday night.