Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Panthers Take Habs And First Place

     The Florida Panthers rebounded with a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday night. The Panthers, who won for the third time in their last four games, jumped over the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.
     Florida got out to a 1-0 lead at 11:46 of the first period. Reilly Smith made a cross-ice pass to Brian Campbell at the top left circle. He then fed a diagonal pass to Vincent Trocheck in the low right circle and he scored on a high wrist shot for his 21st tally of the season.
     The Panthers controlled the second period and scored on a power-play goal at 5:10. Teddy Purcell passed it from the left wing to Ekblad at the left point and he skated to the middle. Ekblad fired a slapshot which was saved by Mike Condon, however Nick Bjugstad batted in the rebound from the left of the crease for his 12th goal this year.
     The Habs fell behind by three goals with 7:15 left in the frame. Trocheck got the puck in the neutral zone, skated through the left circle, behind the Canadiens net and then let go a wraparound backhand shot which was stopped. Jiri Hudler poked in the rebound from the blue paint for his third goal with his new club.
     Montreal eventually got on the scoreboard in a four-on-four situation with 2:37 remaining. Max Pacioretty entered the Panthers zone on the right side and dropped off a pass to Alex Galchenyuk. He released a snap shot from the right-circle dot by Al Montoya.
     The contest was put out of reach by Florida with 8:28 to go in the third period. Jonathan Huberdeau performed a give-and-go pass in the left circle with Jaromir Jagr. Huberdeau then found Barkov in the low slot for a one-time shot to make it a three-goal margin again.

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