NHL: Panthers’ goal rush overwhelms Canadiens
Carter Verhaeghe and Aaron Ekblad scored two goals each as the Florida Panthers hammered the Montreal Canadiens 9-5 on Thursday night in Sunrise, Fla.
Florida’s other goals came from Matthew Tkachuk, Colin White, Gustav Forsling, Ryan Lomberg and Sam Reinhart.
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Tkachuk added a game-high three assists, and he leads Florida with 91 points. Tkachuk’s 60 assists are two short of his career high, set last season.
Verhaeghe leads the Panthers with a career-high 34 goals.
Florida (34-27-7, 75 points) led 7-3 after the first period as the 10 total goals tied an NHL record. The only other times 10 goals were scored in an opening period was in a 1987 game between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks, and the Buffalo Sabres and the Canadiens in 1982. The record for most goals in any period is 12.
The Panthers also set a franchise record for most goals in any period with seven.
It was such a crazy game that Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky got the win despite being beaten on Montreal’s first three shots. He finished with 25 saves.
Montreal (27-36-6, 60 points) started former Panthers goalie Sam Montembeault, who was pulled after allowing three goals in the game’s first 6:04.
The Canadiens went to Jake Allen, who allowed six goals before he was pulled in favor of Montembeault. Allen made 12 saves.
For the game, Montembeault made 21 saves and allowed three goals.
Montreal got one goal each from Mike Matheson, Anthony Richard, Michael Pezzetta, Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Rem Pitlick. Richard and Matheson each also had an assist.
Matheson, a former Panthers defenseman, opened the scoring with a wrist shot just 16 seconds into the game.
White scored from the slot with 2:43 gone to tie the score, and Verhaeghe’s first goal of the night — which came just 34 seconds later — gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
Montreal tied the score 2-2 with 5:20 expired as Richard turned and fired the puck from above the right circle. It was his second goal in two games.
Florida took a 3-2 just 44 seconds later as Forsling, who was trailing the play, fired on the rush from the left circle.
Just over two minutes later, Montreal tied the score for the final time on Pezzetta’s deflection of a Chris Tierney shot.
The Panthers took the lead for good just 51 seconds later on Ekblad’s wrist shot from just above the right circle.
Florida rolled from there, improving to 5-1-1 in its past seven games.
–Field Level Media
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