Claude Giroux had two assists in his first game for Florida, fellow newcomer Ben Chiarot set up a goal against his former Montreal teammates and the Panthers beat the Canadiens 4-3 on Thursday night.
“I’ve only been on the team for a morning skate and a game, but it’s obvious the talent that’s on the team,” Chiarot said. “Easily, the most skilled team I’ve been on and it shows. The plays they make are really incredible.”
The Panthers recently acquired Giroux from Philadelphia and Chiarot from the Canadiens.
“(Giroux has) been a great player in this league for a long time,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. “(Chiarot), he’s a very great player in his own right on the front side of the puck. He showed it tonight. He had a lot of poise on 6-on-4 or 5-on-4, blocking shots. Really steady and clear.”
Aleksander Barkov, Mason Marchment, Anthony Duclair and Sam Reinhart scored for Florida. Spencer Knight made 28 saves.
Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, and Jake Allen stopped 38 shots.
“We played a really strong team tonight and I thought we fought really well,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said. “It was a good result, not the outcome we wanted but it was a fun one to coach.”
Both teams scored on their first shot.
Suzuki made Florida pay for Huberdeau' roughing call with a power-play goal 29 seconds into the first period. Barkov replied for the Panthers on the next play to tie it, with Giroux picking up his first point as a Panther on his first shift.
Florida took its first lead 1:12 into the second period when Corey Schuenemen tripped and left the puck for a wide open Marchment.
Evans tied it at 5:59 by redirecting a shot from the point by Alexander Romanov.
Duclair put the Panthers back on top 1:07 later when he redirected a shot from Chiarot.
Florida took a two-goal lead on a third-period power play when Huberdeau sent a backhand pass to Reinhart, who put a shot past Allen to notch his 24th goal of the season.
Panthers: At Ottawa on Saturday night.
Canadiens: Host Toronto on Saturday night.
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