Canadiens, Panthers throw it back to the 1980s with chaotic 10-goal period

It was "goalies optional" night in Sunrise as the Canadiens and Panthers put up a first-period offensive explosion for the ages.

Take a desperate, explosive team in the Florida Panthers and put them against a Montreal Canadiens team with nothing to lose, and strange things can happen. With 10 combined goals between the Panthers (seven) and the Canadiens (three), the two teams participated in an absolutely outrageous first period on Thursday.

The two teams made history (and left a few goalies very unhappy). Watch all of the carnage in the video below.

Where 10-goal first period of Panthers and Canadiens ranks in NHL history

Two games share the NHL record of 12 combined goals for two teams.

In 1980-81, the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs combined for 12 goals in an eventual 14-4 win for the Sabres in Buffalo. Years later in 1985-86, the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks combined for 12 goals, with Edmonton winning that contest 12-9 in Chicago.

The Panthers set a new franchise record for goals in a single period with those seven tallies on Thursday, breaking a previous mark of six — set against the Bruins in 2000.

By doing that early damage in just 13:18 of game time, only one team in NHL history reached seven goals faster than Florida did on Thursday. Amusingly enough, that was the 1951 Canadiens, who scored seven goals in a brisk 11 minutes and 12 seconds.

Via the NHL, seven combined goals within the first 10 minutes of a game created a six-game tie in league history.

The Canadiens also tied a franchise record with those seven goals allowed in a single period.

Looking at first periods alone, the only other games in NHL history to match this start were the Sabres-Canadiens in 1982 and Flames-Canucks in 1987. This game sure has that 1980s feel, though.

Only four Panthers skaters failed to record a point in thursday's first-period scoring spree: Anthony Duclair, Anton Lundell, Marc Staal, and Brandon Montour. Sam Montembault suffered through a short start for Montreal (three goals allowed, three saves), but Jake Allen could only do so much, giving up four additional goals in the first period.

Panthers, Canadiens, chaos. (Getty)
Panthers, Canadiens, chaos. (Getty)

At one point, Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky had allowed three goals on just three shots. Absolute mayhem.

Quick goals in the second, but game settles down

Mere minutes into the middle frame, it seemed like these two teams might make more history. Habs forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard reduced Florida’s lead to 7-4 just 2:26 into the second period. Slightly more than three minutes later, Aaron Ekblad made it 8-4, then Matthew Tkachuk pushed the score to 9-4 just 7:33 into the second.

That would end up being Florida’s last goal of the game, while Rem Pitlick’s power-play marker was the lone tally of the third period.

In the end, Montembault began and ended the contest (stopping 21 out of 24 shots in 38:31 time on ice) while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 18 shots in 21:29. Panthers fans chanted for 10 goals, but will probably sleep OK at night with nine.

Sergei Bobrovsky managed to play through that entire strange game, making 25 out of 30 saves and finishing with a .833 save percentage in the contest itself. It’s the second straight game where “Bob” gave up five goals.

This win pushed the Panthers to 34-27-7 (75 points in 68 games), keeping them alive in the East wild-card playoff race. They’re now on a five-game point streak (4-0-1), while this loss helps the Canadiens keep pace with the Flyers and Coyotes for better 2023 NHL Draft Lottery odds.