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Panthers dominate Canadiens with four-goal third period

Aleksander Barkov
Florida Panthers Aleksander Barkov (16) scores against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Thursday, November 30, 2023. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
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MONTREAL — Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves for his 11th victory of the season and the Florida Panthers beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 on Thursday night.

Aleksander Barkov, Evan Rodrigues and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist and Sam Bennett and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored. The Panthers improved to 14-7-2, earning five out of six points in a three-game Canadian swing.

“We played a smart game through two periods,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “And then we started shooting the puck. That was probably the difference.”

Johnathan Kovacevic scored for Montreal, coming off a 4-2 victory in Columbus on Wednesday night. The Canadiens have lost four straight at home.

Cayden Primeau stopped 24 shots in his fifth appearance this season. He was beaten to the glove side on all five goals.

“I think I did a good job all year of not second-guessing myself, but they got two in the same spot and it played in my head a little bit,” Primeau said. “When you start second-guessing yourself, things can go south pretty quick.”

Montreal tested Florida’s penalty kill early in the first period with a couple power-play opportunities, but couldn’t break through,

Barkov opened the scoring at 7:07 of the second period, He intercepted a pass by Gustav Lindstrom in the defensive zone, skating down the ice and firing a shot past Primeau’s glove.

The Panthers then poured it on in the third period.

Off the opening draw, Bennett picked up a pass along the boards and beat Primeau clean to make it 2-0 eight seconds into the period.

Canadiens forward Alex Newhook crashed into the side of the net 29 seconds later and awkwardly twisted his leg for a second time in the game. He needed help getting off the ice and did not return.

Florida then got back to scoring on Rodrigues’ goal at 3:12. Verhaeghe made it 4-0 at 5:49 with a wrist shot on the power play.

“I think we went blocker a couple times, it didn’t work, so we tried the glove,” Verhaeghe said. “It worked.”

Kovacevic broke Bobrovsky’s shutout bid at 9:30 with a wrist shot that bounced off the netminder’s glove and into the back of the net for his fourth of the season.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Host New York Islanders on Saturday night.

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