NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Florida|
(Monday, December 29th)
Final Score: Montreal 5, Florida 2
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Maxim Lapierre notched the first hat trick of
his career, propelling the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 win over the Florida
Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center.
Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec also tallied for the Canadiens, who are 4-0-1
over their last five games. Carey Price turned in another quality performance
between the pipes, stopping 26 shots. A first round pick in 2005, Price
has gone 11 straight starts (7-0-4) without a regulation loss.
Michael Frolik and David Booth each had a goal for the Panthers, who have
dropped three games in a row and five of seven overall.
Craig Anderson, who entered Monday ranked first in the NHL with a .941 save
percentage and fourth with a 2.09 goals-against average, allowed four goals on
20 shots before he was yanked early in the third period. Tomas Vokoun made
eight saves the rest of the way.
Florida drew first blood on Frolik's sixth goal of the season.
The 10th overall selection in the 2006 draft, Frolik faked the slap shot and
drifted into the left faceoff circle. With Brett McLean driving hard down the
slot, the youngster fired a wrister underneath the pads of Price, who was
anticipating a pass, 5:18 into the contest.
The Canadiens responded near the midway point of the first period on the power
Montreal was awarded a two-man advantage for 54 seconds and Kovalev tied
the score with 9:33 remaining. The veteran forward held the puck at the right
side of the net and his intended pass to Alex Tanguay at the top of the crease
caromed off Florida defenseman Karlis Skrastins' left skate and slid between
Anderson's legs and across the goal line.
Plekanec gave the visitors the lead with a short-handed tally. He blazed down
the ice, splitting the defense in the process, to catch up to a loose puck and
snapped a wrister high over the right shoulder of Anderson at 1:30 of the
Booth's team-best 15th goal of the season evened the score at 6:49, but
Lapierre restored the lead for Montreal with 3:59 left in the middle stanza.
From behind the net, Lapierre came around the far post and lifted a backhander
past a stretched-out Anderson.
Lapierre gave the Canadiens a two-goal edge, accepting a drop pass from
Guillaume Latendresse and snapping a wrister inside the left circle that beat
Anderson on the glove side at the 2:40 mark of the third period, and added an
empty-net short-handed goal in the waning seconds.
Kovalev has four goals over his last six games after netting zero over the
previous 19...Montreal has won four straight against the Panthers...Canadiens
defenseman Josh Gorges appeared in his 200th career game...Montreal earned its
NHL-best 3,000th regular-season win.
12/30 00:04:46 ET