Shea Theodore’s goal in the second round of the shootout lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-5 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Malcolm Subban, who made 32 saves, stopped all three of Florida’s attempts in the shootout.

Vegas picked up a much-needed two points with the win, as hard-charging Arizona defeated Vancouver 5-2 earlier in the night. The Coyotes are six points behind Vegas in the Pacific Division.

Florida Panthers defenseman Ian McCoshen (12) knocks the puck away from Vegas Golden Knights center Ryan Carpenter (40) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Florida Panthers defenseman Ian McCoshen (12) knocks the puck away from Vegas Golden Knights center Ryan Carpenter (40) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The Panthers, who came up one point short of the playoffs last season, have been making a late push of late, going 5-1-2 in their past eight games and 8-5-2 in February.

Reilly Smith scored twice, while Paul Stastny, Jon Merrill and Colin Miller scored for Vegas.

Mike Hoffman scored two goals for Florida, with Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau also scoring for the Panthers. Roberto Luongo, who made his first start against Vegas, made 41 saves. It was the second straight game Luongo was involved in a shootout after Arizona beat the Panthers 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) celebrates after scoring against Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) celebrates after scoring against Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Stastny opened the scoring three minutes into the game, when he collected the puck after a faceoff in the offensive zone, and pulled the trigger with a quick flip past Luongo. Stastny has a point in 19 of his last 26 games, with six goals and 20 assists.

It wouldn’t take long for the Panthers to swipe momentum once Vegas committed its first two penalties later in the first period as Hoffman scored consecutive power-play goals from the same spot in the right circle to give Florida a 2-1 lead. Ekblad’s one-time rifle from the top whizzed through traffic to make it 3-1.

The second period belonged to Vegas, as it outhit (13-9), outshot (20-16) and outscored (3-1) Florida.

Florida Panthers right wing Evgenii Dadonov (63) competes for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb (3) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Florida Panthers right wing Evgenii Dadonov (63) competes for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb (3) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Smith got it started when he gathered the puck on the doorstep, pulled it back between his legs and flicked it past Luongo. Then it was Merrill with a laser from the top of the left circle to tie the game. Finally, the recently benched Miller completed the trifecta of goals when his one-timer from Nate Schmidt raced past Luongo.

Barkov simmered Vegas’ momentum when he punched the puck through Subban’s five-hole with less than a minute remaining in the second, making it 4-4.

Huberdeau made it 5-4 early in the third period when he snapped his own rebound while falling to the ice, and Subban sprawling amidst a mass gathering in front of the net.

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) scores on Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) scores on Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Smith got his second goal of the game when his wrist shot ricocheted off Mike Matheson’s stick, and redirected past Luongo to tie it at 5 with 4:18 left.

NOTES: Goaltender Sam Montembeault, who was recalled from the Springfield Thunderbirds on emergency basis, awaits his NHL debut. … Two of Vegas’ top four points-getters – Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith – came from the Panthers organization. … Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant and Vegas forward Brandon Pirri are also former members of the Panthers organization. … Hoffman, a former Ottawa teammate of Vegas’ newly acquired Mark Stone, leads Florida with 30 goals and 13 power-play goals. … With his first two-goal game of the season, Smith has a point in eight of his last 10 games (three goals, eight assists) for Vegas. … Huberdeau has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) over his last seven games.

UP NEXT

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Jon Merrill (15) checks Florida Panthers center Jayce Hawryluk (8) into the boards during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Jon Merrill (15) checks Florida Panthers center Jayce Hawryluk (8) into the boards during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Florida: Hosts Carolina on Saturday.

Vegas: Visits Anaheim on Friday.

___

Florida Panthers celebrate after left wing Mike Hoffman, left, scored against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Florida Panthers celebrate after left wing Mike Hoffman, left, scored against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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