NHL: Matthew Tkachuk’s hat trick carries Panthers past Habs
Matthew Tkachuk collected a hat trick and an assist to lead the Florida Panthers to a 5-2 road victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
The four-point performance gives Tkachuk 101 points (38 goals, 63 assists) for the season. Tkachuk has now hit the 100-point plateau in consecutive seasons, and the 63 assists are a personal best, one more than he recorded in 2021-22.
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With Pittsburgh also winning on Thursday, Florida (38-31-7, 83 points) remains one point behind the Penguins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card slot.
Anton Lundell had two goals and an assist for the Panthers, while Sam Reinhart had two assists.
After a season-worst, four-game pointless streak, the Panthers responded with wins on back-to-back nights. Florida picked up a 3-2 overtime road victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
Alex Lyon stopped 18 of 20 Montreal shots to earn his second win in as many days. With regular starter Sergei Bobrovsky sidelined due to a non-COVID illness, his backup rose to the occasion with 56 saves on 60 shots from the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens.
Florida completed the sweep in its season series with the Canadiens, winning all four games by a combined 27-11 score.
Tkachuk was a major contributor to that dominance, collecting 13 points (eight goals, five assists) over the four games. This latest trip to Montreal ended a rare slump for Tkachuk, as he entered Thursday’s action on a three-game point drought.
It was Tkachuk’s 32nd multi-point game of the season, setting a Panthers franchise record.
Sean Farrell and Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored for the Canadiens (30-40-6, 66 points). Farrell scored at 1:23 of the first period before the Panthers netted the next four goals. Harvey-Pinard struck on a power play 18:35 into the third period.
It was the first NHL goal for Farrell, playing in his second game. A fourth-round pick in 2020 who was a standout NCAA player at Harvard, Farrell signed an entry-level contract with Montreal earlier this week.
Lundell tied the game at 4:09 of the first period, and two Tkachuk goals early in the second helped Florida pull away.
Canadiens goalie Sam Montembeault stopped 25 of 29 shots.
–Field Level Media
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