Surging Panthers look to remain hot against Canadiens
The Florida Panthers have won a season-high six straight games overall plus four in a row on the road, and they'll look to keep rolling Saturday afternoon when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.
With the win streak has come a new Panthers' victory song: "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life," a 1983 post-disco hit feom Indeep. The song was selected by Panthers forward Frank Vatrano, who heard it in a restaurant during a recent road trip to New York.
"It gets people going," Panthers center Vincent Trocheck told the team's website. "It's been our go-to song after wins."
The Panthers have won a bunch lately, namely 13 times in their past 17 games.
Florida leads the NHL in average goals per game (3.67) and has outscored opponents 30-17 during its six-game win streak. But the Panthers have been idle since Jan. 21, and the concern in the organization is that there will be some rust on Saturday.
The Panthers are led by All-Star Jonathan Huberdeau (65 points) and captain Aleksander Barkov (54 points), but winger Mike Hoffman deserves mention, too. Hoffman is on a 10-game point streak with five goals and eight assists during that span.
Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky also has been hot with four straight wins and an 8-3-0 record in his past 11 starts.
Meanwhile, Montreal is 5-2-0 in its past seven games. The Canadiens are powered by center Tomas Tatar, who leads the team in goals (18) and assists (28). He also has a club-best seven power-play tallies.
Winger Max Domi leads the team in power-play assists (10), and captain Shea Weber tops the Canadiens in ice time (24:18). Weber has 12 goals and 21 assists, ranking tied for fourth on the team in points -- first among defensemen.
Canadiens goalie Carey Price has made 42 of the team's 52 starts, sporting a 21-17-4 record with a 2.80 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. The former Hart and Vezina Trophy recipient has allowed one goal or fewer in four of his past six games.
In Price's only matchup against the Panthers this season, he was on the wrong end of a 6-5 decision at Florida on Dec. 29. Barkov and Huberdeau both scored twice in that game.
"Carey Price is one of the best goalies ever to play this game -- huge respect to him," Barkov said. "Just playing against (Montreal), I feel there's extra motivation -- good crowd always."
Over his career against the Panthers, Price is 12-7-3 with two shutouts, a 2.01 GAA and a .933 save percentage.
Canadiens coach Claude Julien said he didn't like the defense his team played in front of Price in that Dec. 29 game.
"You can't play pond hockey in this league and expect to win," Julien said. "Five goals should be enough to win if you play well defensively."
Although the Canadiens are 0-1-0 against the Panthers this season, they went 3-1-0 against Florida in 2018-19.
A lot could ride with Bobrovsky, who is expected to start Saturday's game.
Bobrovsky is 19-12-4 this season with a 3.24 GAA and an .898 save percentage.
The two-time Vezina Trophy recipient beat the Canadiens on Dec. 29, but he also allowed five goals in that wild affair. In his career against Montreal, Bobrovsky is 11-6-1 with a 2.23 GAA and a .930 save percentage.
--Field Level Media
Copyright 2020 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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