The Florida Panthers continued to have the Canadian’s number.
Eetu Luostarinen scored two power play goals and the Montreal club lost 4-1 on Saturday night at Amerant Bank Arena.
The Canadian can console himself even though he suffered a sixth loss in a row against the Panthers by telling himself that he was at least in the game until late in the third period this time. He had been dominated 32-12 in goals in his five previous losses against the Florida team.
The Habs have lost their last seven games at Sunrise. He hasn’t won there since December 28, 2018.
Cole Caufield scored the only goal for the Canadian (15-15-5), who suffered a second loss in a row after returning from his Christmas break. Jake Allen stopped 22 shots.
Sam Bennett had a goal and an assist and Carter Verhaeghe added an empty-net insurance goal for the Panthers (22-12-2), who won their fourth straight game. Aaron Ekblad had two assists and Anthony Stolarz made 19 saves.
Canadian defender Mike Matheson competed in a 500e career NHL game. He was drafted in the first round by the Panthers in 2012 and played his first 299 games in the Bettman circuit with that team.
The Canadian will be back in action on Sunday evening, when he visits the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A good battle
Joel Armia had the Habs’ best scoring opportunity in the first period, but he deflected a delivery from Brendan Gallagher over the net.
Moments earlier at the other end of the ice, Allen had frustrated Nick Cousins, who escaped.
Dmitry Kulikov hit the crossbar early in the second period for the Panthers, moments before they took the lead on the power play.
Luostarinen scored 4:05 into the game, volleying home a rebound after a shot from Evan Rodrigues.
Nick Suzuki also hit the crossbar during a power play, moments before Caufield tied the game at 7:01.
Posted at the mouth of the net, Caufield surprised Stolarz with a backhand shot into the top corner.
The rest of the second period was the affair of the Panthers, who had an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal during the period.
The Panthers briefly regained the lead midway through the second period, but Verhaeghe’s goal was canceled following a challenge from Canadiens coach Martin St-Louis, as replays confirmed that the puck was exited the territory a little earlier during the sequence.
Josh Anderson escaped in the opening moments of the third period, but Stolarz closed the door.
The Panthers finally took the lead again at 7:34 of the final period, while Armia was in the penalty box for a stupid rough move in the offensive zone. Luostarinen took advantage of a lot of space at the mouth of the net and he also beat the goalkeeper with a backhand shot.
Bennett dealt a big blow to the Canadian by brushing away an Oliver Ekman-Larsson shot to surprise Allen with 4:34 remaining.
Verhaeghe added an empty-net goal with 2:47 left on the clock.