Game 79, Away Game 39 | Monday April 3, 2017 
BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

4-1

PANTHERS
Florida

(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Shaw – Lehkonen
King – Ott – Martinsen

Markov – Petry
Beaulieu – Emelin
Davidson – Nesterov

Goaltenders

Lindgren
Price

Scratches

Shea Weber, Jordie Benn, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron, Al Montoya

Injured Reserve

Game Report

A division crown was on the line tonight in Sunrise. While the Canadiens handled the Panthers in the Bell Centre just four days previously, this was going to be a tougher task.

First and foremost, the decision was made to rest Carey Price. The Canadiens MVP has been nothing sort of phenomenal since the arrival of Claude Julien with a 13-4-0 record, a 1.57 goals against average and a .943 save percentage. But with Al Montoya not ready to return, Montreal turned to Charlie Lindgren who, along with Chris Terry, has been an MVP of the St. John’s IceCaps.

The Canadiens were also without their best defenceman. How good has Shea Weber been?

So, it’s clear that Weber would be missed, no matter the opponent.

Enter a 21-year-old rookie who, according to Claude Julien, is playing like a veteran. We have been saying it all season: Artturi Lehkonen is smart, skilled, and responsible. Tonight, Lehkonen scored his 15th and 16th goals of the season. And he assisted on the opening goal of the game by Andrew Shaw.

Lehkonen picked up his third game-winning goal of the season. That’s more than Alexander Radulov, Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw. Who predicted that? Lehkonen was named first star of the game.

The other Canadiens star was goaltender Charlie Lindgren. The 23-year-old undrafted netminder is in his first season in the NHL. Tonight, Lindgren started his second career NHL game. He’s won them both.

Lindgren was solid in the first and third periods, but where he shone was in the second. Charlie was brilliant when his team was not. The Canadiens were thoroughly outplayed leaving Lindgren to make 14 saves.

The single goal that beat the young goaltender happened as result of a bad Canadiens line change resulting in a 5-on-2 for the Panthers. Despite the manpower disadvantage and Nathan Beaulieu awkwardly getting in the way, Lindgren, ever-battling, almost made the save.

Like Lehkonen, Lindgren plays well beyond his experience. He is calm, focused, athletic and handles the puck well.

While Lehkonen and Lindgren were both impressive, they were well-supported by several Habs veterans. Kudos to Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Petry for their work on the penalty-kill, particularly during the Panthers 5-on-3.

The Buffalo Sabres are next up on the schedule. The game is meaningless with the Canadiens having secured the Atlantic division crown and their opponent known: the New York Rangers. But it’s clear that both coach and players would like this winning momentum to carry them into the playoffs.

~~~

▲     Artturi Lehkonen, Charlie Lindgren, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Jeff Petry 

▼     Andreas Martinsen

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   PANTHERS
31 Shots 32
50% Face-offs 50%
0 for 2 Power Play 0 for 2
9 Penalty Minutes 9
18 Hits 15
 56 Corsi For  49
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (46-24-9) 1 0 3 4
 Panthers (33-35-11) 0 1 0 1
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Shaw (12), Lehkonen (15), Lehkonen (16), Radulov (18) 
  • FLA: Marchessault (30) 
  • MTL: Lindgren (W) 1-0-0
  • FLA: Berra (L) 0-5-0
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
  1.  Artturi Lehkonen  MTL
  2.  Jonathan Marchessault  FLA
  3.  Charlie Lindgren  MTL

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Claude Julien

  • “I keep saying that [Artturi Lehkonen] is someone who is playing beyond his years – from a maturity standpoint and as a player. He has a good feel for the game and he reads the game well, with and without the puck. It’s rare to see players his age with so much skill. He’s playing like an experienced player, a veteran.”
  • “[Charlie Lindgren] was really good. It was the first time that I saw him play. He was very solid in the second period when we weren’t very good. He defended well and he gave us a chance to win. I’m happy that the guys took charge of the situation in the third and helped him get a win.”

Artturi Lehkonen

  • “When you clinch the spot, it’s always good news. Now, we’ve just got to keep building our game towards the playoffs. I’m just trying to help the team any way I can, and today I was fortunate enough to get a couple of bounces. It was a good win for us.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “[Artturi Lehkonen’s] ceiling is going to be pretty high. There’s a lot of room for him to improve, especially at that age, but for him to come out and play at that age, and be such a big part of the team, you don’t see that too often. The best part about it is that he’s so open to getting better and learning the game to improve. I’m very impressed with his effort [on Monday], but more so the entire season.”

Charlie Lindgren

  • “I felt pretty relaxed. Nervous before the game, but once it gets going, you go out and play. That’s the best part about hockey. I felt like I played pretty calm. I think the team is truly on a mission. It’s a good bunch in here. They’re dialed in and focused. It made my job pretty easy.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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