MONTREAL — Matthew Tkachuk had a hat trick and one assist as the Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Thursday.
With his second goal, Tkachuk became the fourth player in NHL history to hit 100-plus points in consecutive seasons after changing teams in the off-season. He joined the likes of Wayne Gretzky (1987-88 — 1988-89), Jimmy Carson (1987-88 — 1988-89) and Mike Rogers (1980-81 — 1981-82) in achieving the feat.
Anton Lundell added two goals and one assist for the Panthers (38-31-7), who won their second straight.
Alex Lyon made 18 saves in helping Florida sweep its season series against Montreal.
Sean Farrell, with his first career goal, and Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored for the Canadiens (30-46-6), who dropped their second in a row.
Sam Montembeault stopped 25 shots.
Farrell opened the scoring 1:23 into the first period. The rookie took a shot from along the boards that was mishandled by Lyon and went in.
Lundell knotted the game at 4:09, zooming into the slot to score his 11th goal of the season after Montembeault gave up a rebound off a Tkachuk shot.
Tkachuk finished off a tick-tack-toe sequence with Brandon Montour and Sam Reinhart to give the Panthers a 2-1 edge 3:59 into the second period on the power play.
Just under two minutes later, Tkachuk scored his second, beating Montembeault with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.
Lundell upped Florida’s lead to three when he stole the puck away from Nick Suzuki in Montreal’s zone to create a breakaway opportunity. The Finland native deked Montembeault and bagged his second of the night.
Harvey-Pinard redirected Mike Matheson’s shot on the power play at 18:35 of the third period.
Tkachuk completed his hat trick with 20 seconds remaining by scoring an empty-netter.
The Canadiens announced in the lead-up to Thursday night that centre Kirby Dach would miss at least one week with an upper-body injury. After being named a game-time decision, defenceman David Savard (lower body) was ultimately ruled out and listed as day-to-day with Chris Wideman replacing him in the lineup.
After playing his first NHL game on Tuesday, Farrell played his first career game at the Bell Centre on Thursday. The 21-year-old signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Canadiens last Sunday.
“It’s been an awesome day,” Farrell said about skating at the Bell Centre before the game. “First time being in this room, at this rink and it’s just so cool to see all the history and a part of being a Canadien and I’m really excited to get out there.”
The Canadiens host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
The Panthers head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2023.
Tristan D’Amours, The Canadian Press