Tkachuk scores 2 in 5-goal second, Panthers beat Habs 6-2

Jan 19, 2023, 5:33 AM | Updated: 9:06 pm
Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) fights with Montreal Canadiens' Mike Matheson during the thi...

Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) fights with Montreal Canadiens' Mike Matheson during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

              Florida Panthers' Sam Reinhart (not shown) scores against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault (35) as Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19), Canadiens' Johnathan Kovacevic (26) and Canadiens' Mike Matheson (8) look for a rebound during second-period NHL hockey game action in Montreal, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Florida Panthers' Givani Smith (54) scores against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault (35) during second-period NHL hockey game action in Montreal, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) reacts after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during second-period NHL hockey game action in Montreal, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) scores against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault, left,  as Canadiens' David Savard looks on during second-period NHL hockey game action in Montreal, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Florida Panthers' Ryan Lomberg (94) celebrates with Sam Bennett (9) after scoring against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett, left, scores against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault, right, during second-period NHL hockey game action in Montreal, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) fights with Montreal Canadiens' Mike Matheson during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk scored twice in the middle of a five-goal second period and the Florida Panthers cruised to a 6-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Sam Reinhart had a goal and two assists. Sam Bennett, Givani Smith and Ryan Lomberg also scored for the Panthers.

Sergei Bobrovsky exited with a lower-body injury just 2:01 into the game. Alex Lyon made 23 saves in relief for Florida.

“My approach remains the same and I just feel like there’s a reason why I excel in these situations and I take a lot of pride in being able to be put in tough spots,” the 30-year-old Lyon said after his 25th NHL game. “That’s kind of my role in the organization, and kind of where I’ve carved out my career.”

Rem Pitlick and Josh Anderson scored for Montreal.

Sam Montembeault allowed five goals on 33 shots. Cayden Primeau took over in net in the third period, making six saves.

“In the first period, we managed the game. In the second, we shot ourselves in the foot,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “I don’t have a problem with our aggressiveness.

“I’m happy we held together in a frustrating game, and it was our fault that we were getting angry because we were shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Anderson got Montreal’s first scoring chance, hitting the post on a shot that broke his stick just over a minute into the game. Bobrovsky appeared to get hurt on the play and left during a stoppage for a Florida penalty.

Emergency backup goaltender Patrick Chevrefils dressed for Florida in the locker room.

“We had him in the room in between periods,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “I just changed my language a little bit so he doesn’t tell anybody that the coach swears a lot. Good guy, Patrick. He hung out with us. We fed him after, too.”

The Canadiens’ power-play unit instantly tested Lyon when Cole Caufield ripped a one-timer, but the netminder denied him.

“They’re fresh, they’re feeling great,” Maurice said of the Canadiens. “This is a great building to play in front of for the home team because you give (the fans) any reason, it gets loud and they get the energy, so that save was incredible for us. It just kept it quiet enough and let us build.”

There were 24 penalties called in the game, including six majors for fighting and three 10-minute misconducts.

Mike Matheson stopped Eric Staal in his tracks with a reverse hit late in the first period. Staal was slow to get up but headed to the locker room and did not return.

“To see him get hit like that, it definitely lit a little bit of a fire under us,” Lomberg said. “We wanted to make sure that we got the two points because ultimately, that’s what he wanted us to do. He didn’t want us to get revenge. He wanted us to win so we did that.”

Maurice said Bobrovsky and Staal would both get evaluated Friday.

The Panthers broke the ice at 6:30 of the second. Reinhart hopped on a rebound from the left faceoff circle and scored into a half-open net.

Montreal challenged the play for goaltender interference, but the goal stood after a video review.

Florida took advantage of a Montreal delay-of-game penalty to score a second goal less than two minutes later. Bennett redirected Gustav Forsling’s point shot to score his 11th of the season.

Tkachuk gave the Panthers a three-goal lead on the power play by patrolling the front of the net and tapping in a rebound past Montembeault at 14:58.

Smith scored his first of the season by grabbing his own rebound just more than a minute later.

The Canadiens took two penalties for too many men on the ice late in the period. Montreal killed the first minor, but Tkachuk whipped in a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle to complete Florida’s five-goal outburst with 43 seconds remaining in the period.

Pitlick put Montreal on the board 2:12 into the third when he beat Lyon from a tight angle.

Anderson cut Montreal’s deficit to three with a one-timer from the left circle at 8:06.

Lomberg redirected a centering pass from Carter Verhaeghe at 9:11 to make it 6-2.

REVERSE CURSE

The Canadiens lost a sixth consecutive game with their Reverse Retro uniforms. Montreal is 0-6-0 while wearing light blue.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

Canadiens: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

___

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Tkachuk scores 2 in 5-goal second, Panthers beat Habs 6-2