The Montreal Canadiens showed some bite in this game, erasing a three-goal deficit at the end of the second period, but simply ran out of gas in the third period as they fell to the Florida Panthers 7-4.
The Montreal Canadiens, who are often faulted for their rough starts, got the scoring going in this tilt relatively early. Laurent Dauphin sent a long pass off to a streaking Jesse Ylönen, who entered the zone and set up defenceman Chris Wideman for the one-timer, giving the Canadiens the lead with less than three minutes into the game.
Despite the early goal against, the Florida Panthers were unphased and continued to play the fast-paced style that has kept them at the top of the NHL standings all season. They continued to push the pace of the game and knocked at the door many times throughout the first period, with Jake Allen doing his best to keep the Canadiens afloat. However, the relentless pressure eventually unravelled the Montreal Canadiens defence, and it was ironically on a Canadiens powerplay that the Panthers finally broke through Allen to tie the game.
An unfortunate turnover from rookie Justin Barron on the powerplay sent Eetu Luostarinen on an odd-man rush, where he slid the puck to Jonathan Huberdeau, who beat Allen to tie the game. The Panthers seemed to gain a killer instinct at this point, jumping ahead of the Canadiens to claim the lead when veteran Joe Thornton fed Ryan Lomberg for a quick wrist shot that beat Allen high.
The Panthers came out roaring in the second period, with Sam Bennet scoring his 26th of the season a little more than 2 minutes into the middle frame. Ryan Lomberg potted his second goal of the game of a feed from captain Alexander Barkov giving the Panthers a commanding 4-1 lead., but, as we’ve seen many times this season under head coach Martin St. Louis, the Canadiens were far from done.
Justin Barron began a quick breakout to Nick Suzuki, who went all the way into the offensive zone and around the net until he found a streaking Joel Edmundson, who hammered home his first goal of the year to make it 4-2 with less than four minutes left in the 2nd period. Thirty seconds later, Laurent Dauphin would tap in a nice pass from Mathieu Perreault in front of the net to beat Sergei Bobrovsky and bring the Canadiens within a goal of the Panthers. The Canadiens would complete the improbable comeback before the end of the second period, bringing the score to 4-4, when Christian Dvorak squeaked a goal short side on Bobrovsky, who allowed three goals on the five shots he faced in the second period.
The 3rd period would be pivotal for both clubs, but it was the Panthers who drew first blood. Similar to the first goal of the game, Huberdeay got the puck down low and faked out Jake Allen to give the Panthers the lead. The Canadiens tried to keep pace with the Panthers, but Florida proved too strong, as they doubled the Canadiens in shots and scoring chances in the third period. They eventually sealed the deal when Sam Bennet found the Mason Marchment alone in front of the net for the easy tap-in, increasing the Panthers’ lead and bringing the score to 6-4.
Alexander Barkov would add a 7th goal for the Panthers in an empty net, as the Canadiens pulled Jake Allen to try and tie the game with three minutes left in the third. It was a hard-fought game for the Canadiens, but the Florida Panthers are simply too strong a team at this junction.
Here’s your MHN Postgame Poutine:
GOLD STAR: Jonathan Huberdeau – Huberdeau continued his exceptional play this season, as he was a noticeable play-driver from his very first touch of the game. The Canadiens tried to check Huberdeau and keep him to the outside, but he was able to outsmart them all game en route to a three-point performance. Huberdeau scored the Panthers’ first goal to wake his team up in the first period, and then scored a very similar goal to start the third period to give the Panthers back the lead for good. He was the best player on the ice, and continues to build on his Hart-worthy season.
Premier but d'Edmundson cette saison et premier point de Barron dans la LNH!
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 30, 2022
TABARNAK: Jake Evans’ injury: At the end of the third period, with the Canadiens down a goal, Jake Evans was rushing up the ice on a partial breakaway. Unfortunately for Evans, not only did he miss his opportunity to tie the game, he also crashed shoulder-first into the boards, resulting in an apparent injury. He was eventually helped off the ice after laying on the ice for a little while.
TURNING POINT: Nick Suzuki’s goal: The Montreal Canadiens looked defeated by the midpoint of the second period, as the Florid Panthers had taken a commanding 4-1 lead. However, Nick Suzuki took the team on his back and showed he had no quit in his game, as he rushed the puck up the ice and fed Joel Edmundson in the slot for his first goal of the season. The Canadiens would then go on to score two more goals in the next two minutes to complete the improbable comeback and tie the game at 4-4.
ON N'ABANDONNE PAS.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 30, 2022
HONORABLE MENTION: Justin Barron 1st NHL point- Barron recorded his first point in the NHL after a quick breakout pass to Nick Suzuki, who made a nice rush into the zone and found Joel Edmundson in the slot, who notched his first goal of the season. Barron was able to record his 1st career point on the play, while also looking more and more comfortable, playing over 20 minutes in this game.
BY THE NUMBERS: Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens lined up Tuesday night:
Cole Caufield-Nick Suzuki–Mike Hoffman
Rem Pitlick-Christian Dvorak-Josh Anderson
Paul Byron-Jake Evans-Joel Armia
Mathieu Perreault-Laurent Dauphin-Jesse Ylönen
Alexander Romanov-David Savard
Joel Edmundson-Justin Barron
Corey Schueneman-Chris Wideman
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Great kid. Took him out for dinner last night. He’s excited to be here. Hope to get him in the lineup sometime soon” – Joel Edmundson on new Montreal Canadien Jordan Harris.