The Montreal Canadiens were playing the last game of a five game road trip. It was also the second game of a back to back, not to mention their sixth game in a span of nine days. Despite all that, it was the Florida Panthers that looked like the team struggling to find their legs. Florida fell down 2-0 early for the third time in three games. By the end of the second it was 4-0 in favor of the Habs.
Florida showed some life in the third, Tomas Kopecky (his 10th of the season) was credited with the goal although it was Francis Bouillon who actually put the puck in his own net on a misguided clearing attempt. Shawn Matthias scored his seventh of the year shortly after on a play eerily similar to his goal against the Winnipeg Jets last Thursday. Matthias skated up the middle of the ice with speed, faked inside cut outside to get an open shot and went top corner beating Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj.
Florida had the game within two goals at 4-2 and it looked like Montreal’s tired legs may have finally been getting to them but a sketchy holding call on Kris Versteeg led to a Montreal power play goal and took the life out of the Panthers’ comeback.
- Jacob Markstrom had another tough game especially in the early goings. Markstrom had allowed goals on the first shot faced in the Panthers last two games and while he did stop the first one tonight, he got beat upstairs by David Desharnais 1:46 into the game.
- The book appears to be out on Jacob Markstrom. The Canadiens repeatedly shot high glove side abandoning the low shots which the 6’6″ keeper covered easily with his long legs and butterfly style of play. Markstrom made a couple of amazing saves that displayed his size and skill but his problem continues to be the easy shots, the shots that don’t require spectacular saves. I think we will continue to see teams try to go upstairs on the young Swede until he proves he can make the stops.
- Brian Campbell had a big hit in the first period something you don’t often see from him. Campbell isn’t a huge player and therefore never goes for a big hit just for the sake of getting a ‘big hit’ but rather he uses checking simply as a tool to displace his opponents from the puck. That being said, the ole Lady Bing Winner ain’t afraid to get his hands dirty every once and a while!
- Its easy to see why the Habs are tops in the east and have the third best record in the NHL. They play a hard and fast style which emphasizes good defense. They are a team with very few superstars and they rely on everybody pitching in. Their closest player to a superstar, P.K. Subban did have a very strong game with three assists. He played a key role on the Canadiens’ two power play goals as both came off deflections of Subban point shots.
- Shawn Matthias scored another goal tonight, his seventh, and now has points in four straight games for the Panthers. Matthias switched from wing to his natural center position after Weiss went down needing season ending wrist surgery. Matthias’ scoring streak began in the Panthers first game without Weiss which was also Matthias’ first game back at center. Go figure!
- Florida finishes out their three game home stand on Tuesday when the rival Tampa Bay Lightning come to town.