The Florida Panthers gave one of their worst efforts all season against the Montreal Canadiens, as they are now eliminated from the playoff race.
After the performances displayed by the Florida Panthers in their previous few games, you have to think there would be a response at some point to such horrendous hockey.
The Cats fell hard to the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, and you couldn’t think it would get any better as the Panthers played the second half of a back-to-back against the desperate Montreal Canadiens.
In net for Montreal would be all-star Carey Price, who was looking to continue to help his team attempt to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Panthers would start James Reimer, who hadn’t played in about a month. This game would be even bigger for Florida, as a loss would mathematically eliminate them from playoff contention.
The Canadiens scored the first goal of the game when Tomas Tatar scorched a one-timer just outside slot, beating James Reimer on the glove side.
Later, the Habs got their second of the night from Brett Kulak on a big slapshot from the point, a puck that was seemingly invisible to Reimer.
As the goals piled up, Tatar scored his second on a rebound, and Montreal suddenly had an early 3-0 lead. The Panthers pulled Reimer from the crease and placed Sam Montembeault in goal. While Florida also challenged this play for goaltender interference, the goal would stand.
Even though the Canadiens were dominating the play, there were plenty of chances created by the Cats.
Whether it was Vincent Trocheck’s mini-breakaway or Evgeni Dadonov’s missed one-timer, it seemed that Carey Price was jumping all over the place to make the stops needed to keep his team in the game. The Panthers couldn’t beat the hot goaltender, and their opponent continued to thrive off of that.
In the second period, Artturi Lehkonen took a one-time shot right where Tatar got his first goal to get a goal of his own to make it a 4-0 game. While it was a great shot, it happened to go off of the stick of Panthers captain, Aleksander Barkov.
If this wasn’t a repeat goal, then Phillip Danault’s rebound had to be a copy of Tatar’s second goal to extend the Canadiens’ lead to five (5-0). There was only one goal for the Panthers at this point: break the shutout.
Despite seeming impossible to pull off, the Panthers finally got themselves on the board with a powerplay goal from Frank Vatrano.
Off of Denis Malgin’s big slapshot, “Frank the Tank” had a layup to easily beat Price in the slot, making it a 5-1 hockey game. But after a sixth Montreal goal scored by Max Domi, the game was all said and done.
In summary, this was a terrible performance from the Panthers as a whole. They showed no emotion or desire to win or to play spoiler to their division rival in Montreal. You can only hope (in a sense) that they show up to Ottawa on Thursday to at least look respectable.