Ryder, Bouillon many happy returns, but Habs give Panthers hope
Michael Ryder has been on the short leash on this road trip, benched in the 3rd period just 2 games ago, but he finally broke off the chain and scored his 1st goal since returning to the Habs in the Erik Cole trade.
He didn't have to wait long for his 2nd goal in his deja vu tour of duty.
Ryder deflected a shot from the right point by PK Subban around the midway mark of the 1st period in Florida against the Panthers. It was Ryder's 100th career goal as a Hab. The sniper had been benched in the 3rd period against the Hurricanes in Carolina.
Ryder would score again late in the 3rd on another deflection play with a Subban shot served up. PK racked up 3 assists in all during the 5-2 win.
Ryan White had also been benched in that game, but he proved the lessons are finally sinking in. He drew a 4-minute powerplay for the Canadiens by refusing to fight Yonkman of the Panthers, taking repeated shoves face-to-face. Unfortunately the Habs failed to make Florida pay.
By late 2nd period, "Ole' Ole'" could be heard throughout the arena after captain Brian Gionta put a snapshot through the Panthers' goalie Markstrom from the right circle.
That pushed the Canadiens' lead to 3-0. Gionta minutes before had withstood an elbow to the face, but did not miss so much as a shift.
Minutes later Francis Bouillon scored, his first of the season and therefore his first in his latest tour of duty with the club.
Canadiens centre David Desharnais scored his 8th goal of the season, set up by Alexei Emelin just minutes into the final game of a lengthy roadtrip that has seen the Habs hang on to top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Peter Budaj got the start, even though the Canadiens do not play again until Wednesday. He headed to the 2nd period with a 2-0 lead.
With Brandon Prust out of action, Gabriel Dumont hit the ice with Lars Eller and Alexander Galchenyuk. Prust will be out 10-14 days.
The Habs outshot the Panthers 13-7 in the first, despite being outhit 9-5. Colby Armstrong had 2 of the 5 Habs' hits and also got in the face of Yonkman when White was being shoved.
From their dramatic 3rd period comeback vs. the Lighting to the opening period vs. the Panthers, Montreal outshot its opponents 39-13 and outscored them 7-0 over a 60 minute span.
The Canadiens' shot advantage versus the Panthers was 38-16.
It appeared Bouillon had scored an "own-goal" in the 3rd, swiping at a puck loose in front of Budaj, only to be shot in by the Panthers' Tomas Kopecky.
Shawn Mathias scored minutes later, giving themselves some hope in the final minutes by cutting the lead to 4-2, only to have Ryder and Subban combine to wipe out any comeback hopes.