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Niemi makes 52 saves as Canadiens rip Panthers


Reuters
Updated: 16-01-2019 11:03 IST
Niemi makes 52 saves as Canadiens rip Panthers

Montreal backup goalie Antti Niemi was incredible in a record-setting 52-save outing and the Canadiens strung together a three-goal second period to claim a 5-1 win over the visiting Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Shea Weber, Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadiens, who have won four of five and swept their back-to-back games to start the week. Montreal was victorious in Boston on Monday, beating the Bruins 3-2 in overtime.

With Montreal playing in the second game of back-to-backs and its third game in four days, Niemi started and frustrated the Panthers, particularly in a 21-shot third period. Niemi ran his record to 8-4-1.

Niemi established a career high for saves, and Florida eclipsed its record for most shots against an opposing goalie, totaling 53. The Panthers fired 52 on Los Angeles Kings backstop Kelly Hrudey in 1993.

Mike Hoffman scored his seventh goal in 12 games for the slumping Panthers, who lost their seventh straight (0-5-2) and went 0-4-1 on the five-game road trip. Goalie James Reimer made 23 saves for Florida, which was outscored 23-9 on the trip and remains winless in 2019.

Hoffman scored on a gorgeous move off a turnover in Montreal's end. Just off the bench, the left wing skated in alone on Niemi, moved to his left, reached around far to his right and tapped in a beautiful one-hander for a 1-0 lead at 14:11 in the first in a period when the Panthers outshot Montreal 16-6.

The tally was Hoffman's 22nd in his 45th game this season, equaling his total from 82 games played last season in Ottawa.

Montreal wasted little time in taking control in the second period. Weber blasted in his seventh goal on the power play to even it just 29 seconds in. The Canadiens took their first lead when Danault whipped in a blind shot at 10:44 for his eighth goal after a fortunate carom off the end boards left Reimer out of position.

Domi knocked in a rebound for his 15th goal to make it 3-1 after two periods.

Niemi robbed Hoffman and Jonathan Huberdeau on great chances during a power play in the third period as the Panthers set a season high for shots in a game, and Kotkaniemi scored a beauty with a toe-drag to beat Reimer at 14:22 to make it 4-1.

--Field Level Media


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