MONTREAL (AP) Nick Suzuki scored the tying and go-ahead goals in the second period and Sam Montembeault made 37 saves in leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Cole Caufield, Jake Evans and Joel Armia also scored while Alex Newhook had two assists for Montreal, which won its fourth in five games.

Aleksander Barkov, Sam Bennett and Anton Lundell tallied for Florida, which lost to Montreal for the first time in four meetings (3-1-0) this season. Anthony Stolarz made 34 saves.

The feisty game featured 66 minutes in penalties, including 52 in the third period.

The playoff-bound Panthers have struggled with losses in eight of their last 10 games, including a 6-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

Florida was missing top forwards Matthew Tkachuk (illness) and Carter Verhaeghe (upper body). Defenseman Aaron Ekblad also exited the game late in the first period with an undisclosed injury after a skirmish with Canadiens forward Juraj Slafkovsky.

The Canadiens went 1-for-7 on the power play. Florida was 0-for-4.

Lundell opened the scoring 9:16 into the first period, but Montreal replied 56 seconds later when Armia scored on a rebound. Barkov, who has 47 points in 35 games against the Canadiens, capitalized on another Canadiens defensive breakdown to make it 2-1 at 13:13.

Suzuki evened the score at 5:58 of the middle period after Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov gifted him a turnover all alone in the slot. The Canadiens captain put his team in front 3-2 with a deflection on the power play at 12:24 for his 32nd of the season.

Caufield carried that momentum into the third with a silky wraparound goal 33 seconds into the period and Evans added a short-handed goal on a breakaway to give the Canadiens a three-goal cushion at 4:34.

Tempers flared with six minutes left when Florida’s Nick Cousins bodychecked Evans after the whistle. Brandon Montour got into it with Brendan Gallagher in the ensuing scrum and threw the Canadiens forward to the ice. Cousins, Montour and Gallagher received 10-minute misconducts.

Bennett scored short-handed to bring Florida within two at 18:44.


Panthers: Visit Ottawa on Thursday

Canadiens: Host Tampa Bay on Thursday night.



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