Hidden game: Canadians beat Panthers in tough old-school competition

The teams combined for eight goals and 66 penalty minutes, but Montreal earned the 5-3 victory behind two Nick Suzuki markers.

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We’re not sure if it’s the cold weather or the foreign country, but something strange happens to the Florida Panthers once they cross the border.

On this trip alone, the Panthers trailed Toronto 5-1 after two periods on Monday, and although the visitors rallied with three straight goals, they ultimately lost 6-4 to the Maple Leafs, a team they could face in the first round of the playoffs.

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Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, it was another loss, this time 5-3 to the Canadiens, whose players will be playing golf in about three weeks. Florida blew a 2-1 lead in the game.

While playing in Canada this season, the Panthers now have a record of 3-5-1. Florida reached the Stanley Cup Final last season and has similar aspirations this year.

On the other hand: The Panthers missed Matthew Tkachuk, out with illness, and Carter Verhaeghe, who was injured against the Leafs. That’s a total of 56 goals in their lineup.

News you need (Part I): Goalie Anthony Stolarz, who started for the visitors, was the NHL’s best visiting goalie this season before this game, with a .939 save percentage. His save percentage that night was .872.

News you need (Part II): The last time the Canadiens beat Florida, Carey Price was their goalie.

He likes playing against the Canadiens: Florida captain Aleksander Barkov, who scored his team’s second goal, now has 25 goals and 47 points in 35 games against Montreal.

How is that a penalty?: In the second minute of the game, Canadiens defenseman David Savard was on his knees. Evan Rodrigues literally fell on him. Savard was assessed as a stumbling minor.

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Best dive outside the pool: In the eighth minute of the game, Savard slipped and interrupted a play in the neutral zone.

How not to check again: Josh Anderson basically allowed Anton Lundell an unobstructed path to the net on the Panthers’ first goal, at 9:16 of the first period.

Moment, schmomentum: Just 56 seconds later, Joel Armia tied the score.

Play Pezzetta: Yes, it was a rebound from Michael Pezzetta’s shot that Armia scored on.

News you need (Part III): That was Armia’s 11th goal this season playing five-on-five. That places him second on the team, behind Nick Suzuki. Armia also has one more goal in that scenario than Cole Caufield despite having less playing time.

Night pass: Vladimir Tarasenko to Barkov about the Panthers’ second goal. It was a cross-ice gem, after which Barkov dodged defenseman Kaiden Guhle and then took down goaltender Samuel Montembeault.

The best bear hug outside of a WWE ring: At the end of the first half, Aaron Ekblad on Juraj Slafkovsky. Both players received minor penalties.

Operator, we have a bad connection: Brendan Gallagher thought he had scored in a goalmouth scramble at the start of the second half. The play was reviewed, meaning the final decision was made by league officials in Toronto. Initially, referee Eric Furlatt announced a goal, indicating that the puck had crossed the goal line. However, seconds later, he reversed that decision.

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Must be color blind: Dmitry Kulikov passed directly to Suzuki, who beat Stolarz from the 5:58 mark of the second half, tying the score at 2-2.

Milestones: Suzuki, who added a second power-play goal at 12:24 of the second period, now has 32 goals and 71 points in 74 games. It’s the captain’s first career 70-point season and he becomes the first Canadiens player in five seasons to reach that total. It was also his 67th career multi-point game, putting him in sixth place overall in franchise history. In case you were wondering, Guy Lafleur leads the list with 119, followed by Stéphane Richer (91).

Old Time Hockey: The teams combined for 66 minutes of penalties, 40 of them against the visitors. Most of that total came in the third period, including 10-minute fouls against Brandon Montour, Nick Cousins ​​and Gallagher.

Hit of the night: Slafkovsky and Arber Xhekaj pancaked Florida with Steven Lorentz in the third period.

Next time, decline the penalty: Not only did the Panthers fail to convert five power plays, they gave up a short goal by Jake Evans in the third period. The Canadiens weren’t much better, going 1 for 7.

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News you need (Part IV): Barkov has won 14 of 19 matchups, most against Suzuki, who lost 13 of 18. Meanwhile, Colin White has lost seven of eight and is still searching for his first point as a Canadian after being claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh 14 games ago. But who’s counting?

They said it: “Emotions were up and down,” Evans said. “We thought we had scored a goal, but we didn’t and we remained firm. “Just a really good team win.”

“I think I like a physical game like that,” said Slafkovsky, who took three minor penalties. “Didn’t it seem like it? I’m trying to keep up with Arber’s minor sanctions. I saw that Arber was coming and I was already going there. It wasn’t in the middle, so it was fine. I enjoy all the scrums and stuff. It’s part of hockey. It increases the energy level a little bit.”

“It feels good,” said Montembeault, who made 37 stops for a .925 save percentage. “That’s the team that drafted me and I haven’t had much success before playing them the last two years. The team also gave me five goals.”

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