|@ Canadiens (36-38-6)||0||1||0||1|
10 seconds. 10 seconds was all it took for the Panthers to get on the board. Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau assisted the goal. The Canadiens wouldn’t let the goal go unnoticed and they responded with some pressure on Luongo but the Panthers remained in the lead. The Habs would have a chance to change this when Jakub Kindl was called for hooking five minutes in, but the Panthers were able to kill the penalty.
Although the Panthers were in the lead, they were trailing in shots on goal in a huge way. The Panthers would have a chance to even out the shot opportunities after Aleksander Barkov caught a high stick from Greg Pateryn. The Panthers couldn’t score on the advantage and they also weren’t particularly efficient in evening out the shots. At the end of the period, the Panthers led 1-0 but trailed in shots on goal 14-7. Although the Panthers were leading after one, it was due to a flukey goal and their gameplay did not reflect the score. Defense was good but the Panthers will need to get the puck on net to keep their lead.
Brian Campbell was penalized for tripping within the first minute of the second period and the Canadiens moved right back into their first period stride. The penalty was killed but Steven Kampfer headed to the box straight after for tripping. Once again, the Canadiens could not score but of course, the penalties did not end here. A few minutes later, Aaron Ekblad was called for holding and the Panthers had to kill their third consecutive penalty of the period. This penalty was a bit different, though, but not in the way that the Panthers had hoped. Alex Galchenyuk shot the puck from across the ice and it trickled behind Luongo. Now, the Panthers’ performance was catching up to them. The calls were going in the Habs’ favor and the Panthers weren’t able to keep up. At this point, it was shocking that the score was still tied. What else would happen after a great Canadiens opportunity than a Panthers penalty. Aaron Ekblad was sent to the penalty box on a holding call and the Habs extended their influence. With just 0ver 40 seconds left in the period, Brendan Gallagher was called for interference and the Panthers finally caught a break.
This penalty would have carried over into the third but Nick Bjugstad scored to put the Panthers in the lead. Teddy Purcell and Jaromir Jagr assisted the goal. At the end of the period, the Panthers led 2-1 but trailed monumentally in shots on goal 27-11. The Panthers once again ended the period with a one-goal lead, but it sure didn’t seem like it. The Canadiens were able to score this period and they certainly will try to do the same in the third. The Panthers need to be able to account for that in the final frame.
The Canadiens came out strong this period but were halted when Darren Dietz was penalized for tripping. The Panthers were not able to score on the power play but they were, however, able to gain some momentum. Greg McKegg was able to score midway through the third to give the Panthers their ever-so-coveted third goal. The tally was assisted by Shawn Thornton and Aaron Ekblad.
While the Panthers got the short end of the stick last period, they had no shortage of power plays in the third. John Scott was sent to the sin bin on a high sticking call and although the Panthers could not score, the game was winding down and chances for a Habs win were looking bleak. Nick Bjugstad was called for high sticking right as the Scott penalty ended, but the score remained the same when all was said and done. Mike Condon headed to the bench and made way for the extra attacker but the Canadiens could not come back in this one. The Habs ended the game on a penalty kill after Daniel Carr was penalized for hooking. Jiri Hudler was able to bury the puck behind Mike Condon, who headed back on the ice after the penalty was called. The goal was assisted by fellow newcomers Teddy Purcell and Jakub Kindl. The Panthers won 4-1!
Aleksander Barkov has scored the game-winning goal in three consecutive games but he got his goal a bit earlier in this game. He scored just 10 seconds into the game to give the Panthers a very early lead. Nick Bjugstad scored a great goal and proved that the second half of the season has fared well for him. Greg McKegg also played well tonight, scoring the Cats’ third goal in the third period. Jiri Hudler put the final nail in the coffin by scoring with just over a minute left in the game. Roberto Luongo saved every shot but one tonight and was a huge factor in the Panthers’ win tonight. He was put in some difficult situations and he was able to make his way through nearly all of them.
The Panthers will be taking on the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa for the penultimate game of the regular season on Thursday, April 7th, at 7:30 pm ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.