The Florida Panthers returned from a ten-day break and were beaten badly 4-0 by the Montreal Canadiens yesterday at Bell Centre in a game that was even worse than the score indicated.
Florida’s one-sided loss coupled with Toronto’s 2-1 overtime win over Ottawa dropped the Cats to fourth place in the Atlantic Division with the two teams set to play Monday night at Scotiabank Arena.
Philadelphia’s 6-3 win over Colorado knocked the flat Panthers out of a playoff position altogether. Florida trails the Maple Leafs and the wild card leaders by two points with two games in hand on the trio of teams they are chasing.
A bad read by Mike Matheson opened up a huge lane for Nick Suzuki, who beat Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Habs the lead 5:25 into the first. Joel Armia drew the primary assist, with a nice touch pass, and Jeff Petry the secondary, the first of four helpers for the defenseman on the afternoon.
Artturi Lehkonen and Tomas Tatar added to Montreal’s lead with unguarded second period goals from in close and Brendan Gallagher completed the scoring with a power-play marker midway through the third.
Suzuki collected an assist on Gallagher’s goal to finish the tilt with two points.
Carey Price made 29 saves to post the shutout while Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots in a battle between the NHL’s two highest paid goaltenders.
Montreal pretty much out-everythinged Florida in this one. After Price stopped Jonathan Huberdeau on a breakaway with the score still 1-0 that was pretty much it for the Cats.
Bobrovsky did all he could to hold his dominated club in the game until Lehkonen’s little deflection 6:01 into the second put the Canadiens up by two and essentially ended things at that point.
The Panthers will need to shake off this loss, whatever the remaining rust they have and be ready for Monday night’s huge four-point game against the Maple Leafs, who have won three in a row since coming back from the All-Star break.
Cote et Fins
- The Panthers were blanked for the first time this season and don’t fooled by their total of 29 shots... they only had 12 after the second period came to end.
- Carey Price’s shutout was his third of the season and the 47th of illustrious career, moving him past Ken Dryden for third in franchise history.
- Jeff Petry’s four-point game was his first in the NHL and came in his 662nd game.
- Aleksander Barkov left in the second period with a lower body injury after taking a hit from behind from Shea Weber along the end boards and did not return.
- The one-sided win made coach Claude Julien’s 400th regular-season game with the Canadiens a happy one.
- One more milestone, Dale Tallon reached 1,000 games as an NHL GM. He is the eighth active GM to reach the milestone, and the 34th in league history.
- Visit Eyes On The Prize for more on Montreal’s meaty romp over les Chats.