Panthers blank Canadiens for 7th straight home win
The Florida Panthers tied a franchise record with their seventh straight home win, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 5-0 on Thursday night at the BB&T Center.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Micheal Haley, Evgenii Dadonov and Vincent Trocheck scored as the Panthers improved to 14-3-1 since Jan. 30, making them the hottest team in the NHL during that span. That spurt has vaulted the Panthers into playoff contention.
Huberdeau's goal was his 21st, his career best for a single season. It also was Florida's 17th power play goal in the past 17 games.
Florida defenseman Keith Yandle had a big game with three assists.
Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, a Montreal native, made 40 saves to earn the win.
Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren, playing in just his 16th NHL game -- 974 fewer than Luongo -- took the loss. Lindgren made 27 saves.
Montreal once again played without three of its biggest stars, goalie Carey Price (concussion), defenseman Shea Weber (foot surgery) and left winger Max Pacioretty (knee).
The Panthers improved to 20-9-3 at home. Montreal is 9-21-3 on the road.
Florida, taking advantage of a Montreal penalty for too many men on the ice, opened the scoring with 16:16 expired in the first period. Trocheck, with his back to the play, shuffled a no-look pass to Huberdeau, who scored from the slot, whizzing a shot past Lindgren's head.
Bjugstad, who has 15 goals this season and four in two games, made it 2-0 with just 1:41 gone in the second period. Bjugstad, sprung by an Aleksander Barkov pass, finished a breakaway with a backhander.
Florida extended its lead to 3-0 on a goal by Haley, just his third of the season. Haley, normally an enforcer, started off by chasing the puck in the left corner. But when he saw teammate Derek MacKenzie grab possession, Haley went to the front of the net, took the pass and finished with a one-timer.
Dadonov and Trocheck scored in the third period to complete the rout.
--Field Level Media
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