Florida Panthers cap homestand with two milestones and a shootout win over Canadiens

Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald on

Published in Hockey

SUNRISE, Fla. — Anton Lundell glided down the right side of the ice as he made his way toward the net. It was just him and the goaltender. He had one shot attempt to either end the game or see a contest that had already gone through 60 minutes of regulation, a five-minute sudden-death overtime and the first two rounds of a shootout continue on for another round.

The Florida Panthers’ 22-year-old Finnish center made his way into the slot and then the crease just in front of the net. He moved his stick to the right, freezing Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault. And then, in one swift movement, Lundell got his stick around Montembeault and the puck in the back of the net.

On a night in which the Panthers celebrated a pair of milestones, it was Lundell, who had gone through his lumps offensively all season, who sent the Panthers home on a high note in a 4-3 shootout win over the Canadiens at Amerant Bank Arena.

“I had a couple moves in my mind,” Lundell said. “I saw a little bit how the goalie played during the game and that was the move I wanted to try.”

The shootout winner marked the second time in the past five games Lundell has won a game for the Panthers (40-16-4) in a sudden-death moment. He also scored Florida’s overtime winner against the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 20.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a veteran player, a Hall of Famer or a rookie,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “If you’re feeling it, as they say, nobody can describe it. You can’t train for it. We’re trying to figure out a way to do it, but if things click and one goes for you, you feel like you have the confidence. And he should be a confident man. He’s been really, really good ... and sometimes that feeling that you get from scoring a shootout goal or overtime goal can really propel you.”

Other notables from the game:


— The Panthers are the second team in the NHL this season to get to 40 wins, along with the New York Rangers. At 84 points and a .700 win percentage, Florida is atop the NHL standings.

— Florida went 3-0 on its homestand, winning every game by a one-goal margin. The Panthers beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime on Saturday and the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Tuesday. Florida has won six consecutive games at home.

— After going a season-long seven games without a goal, Panthers All-Star winger Sam Reinhart scored his 40th goal of the season in the second period, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to get to that mark. Reinhart then scored his 41st goal with 6:55 left in regulation in a shorthanded situation to tie the game at 3-3 and get the game to overtime.

Reinhart is the 10th player in Panthers history to score a power-play goal and shorthanded goal in the same game.

—Goaltender Anthony Stolarz played in his 100th career NHL game and earned the win after stopping 28 of 31 shots he faced and then stopping two of three attempts in the shootout.

— Aleksander Barkov was involved in all three goals, opening scoring 7:01 into the first period and then added assists on both of Reinhart’s goals. Barkov also scored the first shootout goal to set up Lundell’s game winner.

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