Florida’s Aleksander Barkov had the game he dreamed of scoring a hat trick to help lead the Florida Panthers to victory over the Montreal Canadiens last night in Florida.
Barkov’s second career hat trick saw the Finnish center pulling off a late second period goal that was nothing less than spectacular as he came into Montreal’s zone on a breakaway. With Montreal chasing, Barkov shot the puck from behind and between his legs right in front of Price as he flipped the puck past a stunned Price and into the net.
Barkov stated that he has seen goals like that in the past and dreamed of doing one like it. Barkov added,
“I think I’ve tried that like 17 times in my career. It worked for the first time. I’m happy, but, of course, more importantly, we got the two points.”
Barkov, who scored three goals also earned an assist to give him a four point night for the third time in his NHL career. Florida Panthers coach Bob Boughner said it was the prettiest goal he has seen all season adding,
“That was nuts, and he stopped hard at the end before he did his move. We just looked at it on the bench with disbelief that he could pull that off with that kind of speed.”
Denis Malgin, Frank Vatrano and Riley Sheahan also scored for Florida last night. Assists were handed to Mike Hoffman, Keith Yandle, who each earned two. Henrik Borgstrom, Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau each earned single assists. Goalie James Reimer, who was making his second start in net for the Panthers, stopped twenty-eight shots.
Claude Julien, coach for the Montreal Canadiens, wasn’t pleased with how the night went commenting that,
“We’re going through a tough stretch right now. Nothing seems to be easy right now and that’s what slumps are all about.”
Montreal’s Max Domi scored two goals and Brendan Gallagher had one. Tomas Tatar had two assists and Mike Reilly had one. Carey Price made 24 saves after Antti Niemi was pulled after allowing in three goals.
Florida went up 5-3 in the third period after Barkov scored his third on the night. His last hat trick came in mid-December when the Panthers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. The Panthers made it 6-3 with just over two minutes remaining after Riley Sheahan scored on an empty net.
Jonathan Huberdeau had scored at 3:44 in the third, but it was overturned after Montreal challenged that he was offside. Max Domi’s second goal had tied the two, but it failed to see Montreal capitalise on other scoring opportunities. Commenting, Domi said,
“We did a good job of coming back in and even though we weren’t on our game completely we managed to make a game out of it. Too little, too late and they capitalised again.”
The Florida Panthers will play the next three games at home. On a three game winning streak, it is ideal for punters wanting to place wagers on upcoming games against Buffalo, Carolina and the L.A Kings to register with leading sportsbooks such as bet365 who is offering new punters up to $200 in signup bonuses. Montreal will now head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets before making their way to Philadelphia for a Thursday night game against the Flyers.