Florida Panthers Lose in Overtime 3-2 to Montreal Canadiens


The three previous games that the Florida Panthers had played against the Montreal Canadiens this season had been extremely close as each hard fought outcome was within one goal.

The first matchup was back on December 30th in Florida where the Canadiens were victorious with a 2-1 shootout win. February 19th was next as the Panthers won 3-2 in the shootout, and the previous meeting was in Florida as Montreal won 3-2 in regulation. Saturday’s game from Montreal continued the trend as these two teams once again had another exciting close contest.

Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers /

Florida Panthers

1st Period:

Florida was the better team throughout most of the 1st Period as they led in shots 8-3 at one point and spent more time in the opposing zone. That changed with 4:24 left in the period when Panthers forward Jimmy Hayes was hit hard against the boards in front of the Panthers bench from Canadiens defenseman Greg Pateryn. It was certainly a questionable interference non-call, but the referees thought it was clean. Hayes had trouble getting up off the ice and slammed his stick against the boards with disgust. That unfortunately put him in the penalty box for two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Montreal scored on their power play with a goal from forward Lars Eller for his 12th of the season and assists from defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Jeff Petry to put the Habs on the board. Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr might have saved a goal with 1:46 left in the period as forward Dale Weise almost caught Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo out of position and chose to take a hooking penalty. Montreal did not score on that power play.

Panthers forward Derek MacKenzie and Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu had matching roughing minors with ten seconds left in the period as there were quite a few scrums in this game after whistles. The Panthers led in shots 9-8 in that period and Canadiens goaltender was perfect while stopping all nine Florida shots.

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2nd Period:

Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov put the Panthers on the board 6:09 in the period with his 13th goal of the season and tied the game with a beautiful wrist shot over Price to make it a 1-1 game. Assists were from forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr. Canadiens forward David Desharnais took an interference penalty on Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen with 8:46 left in the period.

Barkov decided to take advantage of the Panthers having the power play as it was ending with 6:49 left and again shot a puck top shelf over Carey Price for his 14th goal of the season to give Florida a 2-1 lead. Assists were again from Huberdeau and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

Just as the Panthers were getting into a nice groove with the lead were dominating the Habs with physical play, Panthers forward Dave Bolland took the nasty play too far and received a penalty for cross-checking forward PA Parenteau with 6:21 to go in the period.

Montreal was able to tie the game with the extra player with Alex Galchenyuk 20th goal of the season with 5:25 to go in the period. Assists were from forward Tomas Plekanec and defenseman Andrei Markov. The Canadiens led the 2nd Period in shots 9-6 and both teams went 1 for 1 on their respective power plays.

3rd Period:

It was a very tough battle until the end of regulation as both teams really played one another tough. Both teams had very close changes up and down the ice and the goaltenders had to make some spectacular saves to keep their teams tied. Especially, in the last few minutes, some could say that it felt like a playoff game. Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad was high-sticked, which even knocked a tooth out, but the referees made no call. However, neither team scored and overtime was needed. The Panthers led in the shot department 8-5 and there were no penalties taken despite physical play being continuous.

As the Panthers continued in the playoff race for the last Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, getting two points was crucial. The Boston Bruins were five points ahead of the Panthers with a win over the New York Rangers earlier Saturday afternoon. The Ottawa Senators were three points ahead and lost in overtime to the Toronto Maple Leafs shortly before the Panthers and Canadiens went to overtime.

It was also important for Montreal to get a win as two points secured them a playoff spot.


The two teams again went back and forth and unfortunately for the Panthers, forward Vincent Trocheck was called for a questionable high-sticking penalty in the Florida zone with 2:08 left in overtime. The Canadiens won the faceoff and forward Max Pacioretty put the Habs officially in the playoffs with his 36th goal of the season to win the game with 2:01 remaining in overtime. Assists were given to Desharnais and defenseman P.K. Subban.

The Canadiens led in shots during the overtime period 3-0. Luongo had 22 saves and Price had 21.


Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant was livid after the game at the officiating as the referees skated away off the ice.

“I didn’t say much, it was just tough for us to get a power play. I thought we battled hard, played hard and to get just one power play is disappointing. The call on Trocheck was probably the right call, but when you don’t call it all night that’s disappointing.” said Gerard Gallant.

The Panthers have seven games remaining on the schedule in the regular season with Sunday’s 5:00pm start in Ottawa possibly being the biggest. With a win, they would be one point behind the Senators. The Boston Bruins are also playing at the same time on Sunday in Carolina against the Hurricanes. The Panthers play the Bruins in Boston on Tuesday and again on April 9th from Florida.

“We just have to forget about this one. Ottawa is going to be huge.” said Jonathan Huberdeau.

“We deserved the two points. We have a big one Sunday, and we need to win these games. We’re playing pretty great. I think we have good chance to make the playoffs.” said Aleksander Barkov.