Florida’s top line made sure the Panthers’ good start to the weekend turned into a great one.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored two goals in just over 30 seconds and added two assists, and Florida’s top line had a nine-point game as the Panthers beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 on Sunday night.
Aleksander Barkov had two goals and an assist and Mike Matheson added a goal and two assists. Noel Acciari also scored and Evgenii Dadonov finished with two assists. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves.
The top line of Huberdeau, Barkov and Dadonov notched four goals and five assists as Florida earned four points this weekend in regulation wins over Atlantic Division rivals Detroit and Montreal.
“Huby was special tonight,” Florida coach Joel Quenneville said. “He had several nice looks, great plays. He had the puck on his stick a lot. I thought that line played well together.”
Jeff Petry had a goal and two assists, Tomas Tatar and Max Domi each added a goal and an assist, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Shea Weber also scored. Nick Suzuki assisted on three goals. Carey Price started his seventh straight game and made 28 saves.
Acciari grabbed a loose puck and scored at 4:34 for his 13th of the season on Florida’s second shot in the first meeting between the teams this season.
Barkov beat Price between the pads on a spectacular breakaway last Feb. 17, and added another highlight-reel effort, scoring on a sweeping, blind backhander at 6:33 for his 12th of the season and a 2-0 lead.
“Carey Price is one of the best goalies to ever play this game,” Barkov said. “Huge respect for him. Just playing against that team. ... I feel like there’s extra motivation, good crowd here always. It gets us going.”
Tatar’s team-leading 16th goal at 13:31 put the Canadiens on the board on their first power play.
Petry and Domi scored in the first 2:12 of the second. Barkov countered with his second goal of the game at 3:41, tying the score at 3-all.
Huberdeau, whose four points tied a career high, scored twice in a 35-second span for a 5-3 lead. His first goal at 13:30 from a poor angle caromed in off Ben Chiarot’s skate. Barkov sprung Huberdeau with a long diagonal pass, freeing the left wing for an open shot from the left circle, and the Quebec native rifled in a shot for his team-high 16th at 14:05.
“I’m not even surprised,” said Huberdeau of Barkov’s dazzling long feed. “He makes some great passes and is such a good player. He found me, and everything was working.”
Matheson sent in a shot 45 seconds into the third that hit Weber’s stick, and Kotkaniemi answered on the power play at 4:11, while Weber scored at 18:08 with the extra skater on.
Price has allowed 17 goals in four games and dismissed any notion of fatigue when asked if he was fresh.
“As a daisy,” he replied.
Coach Claude Julien said he didn’t like his club’s defensive play.
“You can’t be playing pond hockey in this league and expect to come out and win hockey games,” Julien said. “You score nine goals in the last two games — five tonight, four (Saturday) — that should be enough on the road to win hockey games if you play well defensively.
“We’re sloppy. Everybody’s to blame.”