Recap: Canadiens hand reeling Panthers an “e” with 6-1 rout
Cats gag on heavy dose of Tuna Tatar
James Reimer’s return to the net didn’t last long as the Montreal Canadiens chased him with three first period goals and then proceeded to tack on three more in a 6-1 rout of the Florida Panthers, who are now mercifully mathematically eliminated from the wild card race.
Tomas Tatar had two goals and an assist to pace the Canadiens and Brett Kulak, Artturi Lehkonen, Phillip Danault and Max Domi also scored.
The Panthers played really well for the first six minutes of the game and then the Habs scored and things quickly disintegrated from there.
Tatar’s first goal at the 6:58 was well-earned as he beat Reimer with a nice shot off the post and in after taking a pretty pass from Andrew Shaw.
Nobody in a Florida uniform was anywhere near Kulak. who drove in a one-timer at 12:39 from just above the circles, with the assists going to rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jordan Weal.
On the third goal, Reimer seeing his first action since February 26, tried to corral the puck after it was sent towards the net after a Canadiens’ faceoff win, but couldn’t smother it. Tatar poked the loose puck in for his second of the period at the 14:28 mark, sending Reimer to the bench with six saves on nine shots for rookie Sam Montembeault.
To their credit, the Panthers tried to get back in the game, but they just couldn’t solve Carey Price, who finished the game with 33 saves.
By the time Frank Vatrano came up with a power-play goal 1:35 into the third the Cats were already down by a five-spot. Vatrano knocked in a rebound after Price came up with big stops on Vincent Trocheck and Denis Malgin and couldn’t get back up.
Domi completed the scoring unassisted with a deadly wrister from the right circle with 8:12 left in regulation time after holding the puck in the zone and skating away from Riley Sheahan.
The Domi goal was really the only one you could fault Montembeault, who made 15 saves, on. Lehkonen’s one-timer deflected in off Aleksander Barkov and Danault was given plenty of time and space to whack away at a rebound.
Florida has now dropped three in a row and surrendered 20 goals in doing so. We are seeing a major lack of interest and effort, especially in the defensive zone. Unless something changes, the goalies are going to have a real tough time these last five games of the season. I feel sorry for them. One of the positives of this up and down season prior to this latest skid was the Cats battled hard and were in almost every game, even if they were finding ways to lose a lot of them. That’s not the case anymore. Maybe the Panthers, will look better when the play against Ottawa and New Jersey, two other teams with nothing to play for, but I’d expect big losses against Boston, Washington, and the Islanders.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)