December 29, 2018 / 3:07 AM / 5 months ago

Tatar scores pair as Canadiens top Panthers

EditorsNote: Added location in lede graf

Tomas Tatar scored two goals — including the go-ahead tally with 11:06 left in the third period — as the visiting Montreal Canadiens defeated the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Nicolas Deslauriers, Artturi Lehkonen and Jonathan Drouin also scored for Montreal, and Antti Niemi made 23 saves. Niemi was playing for Carey Price, who missed the game due to a lower-body injury. Niemi is 5-3-1 this season.

Florida got early goals from a pair of 21-year-olds, Henrik Borgstrom and Denis Malgin, and a late score from veteran defenseman Keith Yandle.

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (8-7-1) made 23 saves. The Panthers had entered the game having won four of their previous five games.

Montreal led 2-0 with less than three minutes played.

Just 35 seconds in, Tatar scored unassisted on a backhander after a turnover by Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson behind his own net.

With 2:51 expired, Montreal caught another break as a shot by Victor Mete went in off the body of Canadiens right winger Deslauriers. The puck knuckled over Luongo’s left shoulder.

Florida, though, fought back to tie the score at 2 on the first-period goals by Borgstrom and Malgin.

With 8:01 expired, Mike Hoffman dropped a pass to Borgstrom, and the rookie’s wrist shot from the slot beat Niemi stick-side. It was the third goal in 10 career games for Borgstrom, who was Florida’s first-round pick in 2016.

Malgin scored with 13:53 gone in the first, taking a pass from Troy Brouwer. Malgin did not get much on his shot but just enough to slide it past Niemi. It was Malgin’s fourth goal in 23 games this season, but also the second straight game in which he has scored.

Montreal killed off two penalties in a scoreless second period and then got the goals from Tatar and Lehkonen in the third.

Yandle scored with 1:16 left, but Drouin’s empty-netter with 23 seconds left gave Montreal the final margin.

—Field Level Media

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