Three quick salvos from the visitors were enough to finish off the Canadian on his return home after a long trip.
The Florida Panthers scored three goals in the first six minutes of play in the third period, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots and the visitors crushed the Montreal club 5-1 on Thursday evening at the Bell Centre.
The Habs were back home after a five-game road trip. He suffered a ninth loss in a row after returning from a trip of at least four games (0-7-2).
The Panthers continued to have the Canadian’s number. The Florida club has won its last five games against the Bleu-blanc-rouge by a combined score of 32-12.
“We were not opportunistic about our chances. That’s what made the difference, insisted coach Martin St-Louis. We could have returned after the second with the lead.
“We were playing a second game in two nights. We arrived late yesterday. Tonight, from the start, we were there, we were engaged and alert. It’s a shame to have lost, but I’m proud of the team. »
The Canadian’s efforts were undermined by his power play, which was shut out on six occasions. The Habs’ massive attack is 0-for-23 in its last eight games.
Cayden Primeau stopped 24 shots in front of the Canadian net (10-11-2). Johnathan Kovacevic deprived Bobrovsky of a shutout by beating him in the third period.
Primeau gave in five times on the glove side.
“It’s unacceptable,” admitted Primeau. But every opportunity in front of the net represents a learning opportunity. This is what I must do, while continuing to move forward. »
Aleksander Barkov, Evan Rodrigues and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (14-7-2), who also benefited from goals from Sam Bennett and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
The Canadian lost the services of forward Alex Newhook early in the third period. He appeared to injure his left leg while hitting the Panthers’ net after a fall. He needed help to leave the ice and return to the locker room.
Newhook briefly headed to the locker room in the first period after another heavy fall against the boards.
“He is one of our good players and no matter how long he is gone, we will be missing a good player,” said Nick Suzuki. Seems like it happens a lot with our team, but it opens the door for another player. »
A spokesperson for the Canadiens simply indicated after the match that Newhook had a lower body injury and that his state of health will be further evaluated on Friday.
The Canadian will be off Friday. He will take charge again on Saturday, when he welcomes the Detroit Red Wings to the Bell Centre.
Sean Monahan challenged Bobrovsky twice in quick succession during a Habs power play, but the goaltender closed the door.
At the other end of the ice, Primeau had to be alert to stop the puck after it deflected off Mike Matheson’s stick during a two-on-one attack by the short-handed Panthers.
The Canadian had two great chances to score early in the second period. Jesse Ylönen first missed the target while racing alone towards Bobrovsky, then Jake Evans was frustrated by the Russian veteran during a two-on-one attack.
The Panthers opened the scoring at 7:07 of the second period, with the teams playing four against four. Barkov intercepted a pass from Gustav Lindström at the Panthers blue line and orchestrated a two-on-one attack. Barkov opted for a shot and beat Primeau to the glove side.
The Canadian spent a lot of time in the offensive zone during the rest of the second period, but the Panthers avoided allowing dangerous shots towards Bobrovsky.
The Panthers stunned the Canadian with two goals early in the third period.
Bennett took advantage of a little too aggressive play from Justin Barron in the neutral zone to advance towards Primeau with the disc. He beat him to the glove side after just eight seconds of play.
Rodrigues then surprised Primeau 3:12 into the period. The American goaltender was beaten again on the glove side and didn’t look very good in the sequence.
Verhaeghe came back at 5:49, during a power play. He in turn surprised Primeau on the glove side, but the puck possibly deflected against the blade of Barron’s stick on the sequence.
Kovacevic beat Bobrovsky with 10:30 left in the game.
Still looking for a first goal this season, Canadian forward Josh Anderson vented his frustration by engaging in a furious fight with Jonah Gadjovich at the end of the game.
Ekman-Larsson turned the iron in the wound by also beating Primeau on the glove side with 10.9 seconds left on the clock.