Danault leads Canadiens to 3-2 overtime win over Panthers

Cats’ painful season of close but no cigar continues

The Florida Panthers surrender a late one-goal lead before falling 3-2 in overtime to former backup goaltender Al Montoya and the Montreal Canadiens.

Florida lost for the tenth time in the last thirteen games and dropped down to sixth place in the Atlantic Division, four points behind third place Boston.

Jason Demers opened the scoring at the 13:58 mark of the first period. After Jonathan Marchessault loosened the puck from scrum behind the net, Jussi Jokinen fed Demers for a one-timer that pin-balled off Montoya and the leg of defenseman Shane Weber before finding twine.

The Habs evened things up 5:45 into the second when Max Pacioretty got free in the slot and snapped home a centering pass from Alexander Radulov. Nathan Beaulieu drew the second assist on the power-play goal.

Florida came up with a power-play goal of its own 3:17 later. After Vincent Trocheck won a draw back to Keith Yandle, the slick defenseman returned the puck to Trocheck who a fired a wrister by Montoya from just above the left circle for his tenth of the season.

James Reimer, who finished with 38 saves, preserved the tenuous lead until the Canadiens came up with the equalizer with 2:37 left in regulation, much to the delight of the Montreal fans in attendance at the BB&T Center.

Brendan Gallagher notched the game-tying marker, staying just ahead of Derek MacKenzie to convert a nice pass from Phillip Danault to cap off a rush up ice. The goal ended a 13-game drought for Gallagher.

After setting Gallagher, Danault ended the game 39 seconds into overtime when Pacioretty sprung him free for a breakaway with a sweet backhand dish and he beat Reimer blocker-side from the slot.

The point gave the Panthers a disappointing 1-1-3 record on the five-game holiday homestand. The Cats will visit Dallas on Saturday before returning to the BB&T for a three-game set that sees Winnipeg, Nashville and Boston come to town.

Cote et Fins

  • Al Montoya made 31 saves to get the win in his return to Sunrise. It was Montoya’s first victory since a 3-2 decision over the New York Islanders on October 26. Montoya robbed Aaron Ekblad midway through the second to keep the Cats from going up by two.
  • Florida has now gone past regulation time in sixteen of its thirty-seven games. That number is tops in the league.
  • Jason Demers’ goal was his seventh of the season, equalizing the career-high he set last season with Dallas. Demers has 45 games left to establish a new high mark.
  • In addition to registering a goal and an assist, Max Pacioretty fired a game-high seven shots on James Reimer. Pacioretty has ten goals in the last twelve games.
  • Mike Sgarbossa made his Panthers debut and finished the game with two shots on goal and one hit in 10:25 of ice time.
  • Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry suited up for his 400th NHL game.
  • After registering points in back-to-back games, Jonathan Marchessault left the game late in the third period. The Panthers can’t afford anymore injuries right now. Hope to see Marshmallow on the ice in Dallas.
  • A healthy dose of Habs fans resulted in an announced attendance of 17, 489. That number was highest on the homestand.
  • Eyes on the Prize has the other side of Montreal’s “road” win over Florida./