Bobrovsky makes 21 saves, Panthers end road trip with 5-1 win over Canadiens

MONTREAL — Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves to earn his 11th win of the season as the Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 on Thursday night at Bell Centre.

Aleksander Barkov, Evan Rodrigues and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist for Florida (14-7-2), which closed out its road trip through Eastern Canada with five out of six possible points. Sam Bennett and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored.

Johnathan Kovacevic scored the lone goal for Montreal (10-11-2), which beat the Blue Jackets 4-2 in Columbus the night before. The Canadiens have lost four straight games at home.

Cayden Primeau stopped 24 shots in his fifth appearance this season. He was beaten glove side on all five goals.

The Panthers went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Canadiens were 0-for-6.

Florida improved to 26-for-26 on the penalty kill over its last six games. Montreal, meanwhile, is 0-for-23 with the man-advantage in its last eight games.

Montreal tested Florida’s penalty kill early in the first period with a couple power-play opportunities, but couldn’t break through as Bobrovsky made things look easy for most of the evening.

Sean Monahan had two shots at the side of the net midway on the second power play, only for Bobrovsky to shut the door.

Josh Anderson, who hasn’t scored in 23 games this season, nearly had a breakaway with 1:25 remaining in the period but was taken down, drawing a penalty.

Barkov opened the scoring at 7:07 of the second period after intercepting a pass by Gustav Lindstrom in the defensive zone, skating down the ice and firing a shot past Primeau’s glove.

The Panthers then poured it on in the third period.

Off the opening draw, Bennett picked up a pass along the boards and beat Primeau clean to make it 2-0 eight seconds into the frame.

Canadiens forward Alex Newhook crashed into the side of the net 29 seconds later and awkwardly twisted his leg for a second time in the game. He needed help getting off the ice and did not return.

Florida then got back to scoring as Rodrigues’s shot at 3:12 of the period went through Primeau’s glove.

Verhaeghe made it 4-0 at 5:49 with a wrist shot on the power play.

Kovacevic broke Bobrovsky’s shutout bid at 9:30 with a wrist shot that bounced off the netminder’s glove and into the back of the net for his fourth of the season.

Anderson dropped the gloves with Florida’s Jonah Gadjovich with under a minute left to give some excitement to the fans that remained in the building.

Ekman-Larsson then scored to make it 5-1 as the Panthers cruised to victory.


With a goal Wednesday against Columbus, Cole Caufield became the fifth Canadiens player who debuted in the past 100 years to score 60 goals before playing 150 games. The others are: Howie Morenz (74 GP), Maurice Richard (83 GP), Jean Beliveau (132 GP) and Joe Benoit (135 GP).

Caufield, 22, has 60 goals in 146 career games.


Florida: Hosts the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Montreal: Hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2023.

Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press