Recat: Are You Sensing A Pateryn?
Florida plays Montreal tough, but only managed to claim one point at the Bell Centre.
The first period would see the Panthers start out outplaying the Canadiens, as they've been known to do against better teams throughout this season. The domination continued until the 4:23 mark, when Jimmy Hayes was called for unsportsmanlike conduct when he broke his stick in frustration. The Panthers killed the penalty (and have allowed just two goals on the kill over the last 14 games), but allowed a one-timer to Lars Eller (12) to open the scoring just after the power play expired. After a healthy scratch in Florida's last game, Erik Gudbranson was playing with an edge for the Panthers - showing his teeth to the Habs, as it were.
With 6:09 gone in the second, Jaromir Jagr skated into the offensive zone, hitting Jonathan Huberdeau with a cross-ice pass. Huberdeau spun and dished off to Aleksander Barkov, who roofed it past Carey Price with a disgusting, filthy move for his 13th marker of the season.
With the score still knotted at one at the 13:11 mark, Dmitry Kulikov found Huberdeau, who again stuck the biscuit on Barkov's tape from 25 feet. Barkov simply changed the trajectory of the puck, beating Price in the same exact spot as he had beat him in before for a 2-1 Panthers' lead.
Florida's penalty kill finally showed some cracks in the armor, when Alex Galchenyuk beat Roberto Luongo from point blank range with a wrister high over the glove side just 1:24 after Barkov's second marker of the night for his 20th of the year.
After a scoreless third period which would see Jagr, Barkov and Huberdeau continue to shine, the Panthers and Habs went to the extra frame for some four-on-four action. It became four-on-three with 2:08 left when Vincent Trocheck was called for high-sticking. This, after Aaron Ekblad actually lost a tooth to an earlier non-called high sticking. It only took Montreal seven seconds to shut Florida down, when Max Pacioretty scored his 36th marker of the campaign for a 3-2 win. Roberto Luongo failed to claim his 400th career victory, but the Habs clinched a playoff spot.
It's a quick turnaround for the Cats, who will face the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night. For more on the Habs, go to Eyes On The Prize. Silver Seven has your Senators.