Antti Niemi made a career-high 52 saves and the Montreal Canadiens extended their winning streak to three games with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Shea Weber, Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal in the second of back-to-back games. The Canadiens were coming off a 3-2 overtime victory in Boston on Monday.
Mike Hoffman scored in the first period for the Panthers, who have dropped seven consecutive games, their longest skid of the season. Florida’s last victory was on Dec. 31, against the Detroit Red Wings.
Roberto Luongo was expected to start in goal for Florida, but James Reimer got the nod in a game-time decision. Reimer stopped 23 shots.
The Panthers outshot the Canadiens 53-28. Florida had 21 shots in the third period alone.
Niemi was solid throughout as he beat his personal 48-save mark set on March 3, 2017, in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins. The Canadiens backup goalie has won his last three starts and improved to 8-4-1 on the season.
With Montreal leading 2-1 in the second period, Domi appeared to have snapped his 17-game scoring drought when he scooped the puck across the goal-line following a scramble in the crease. But, the goal was overturned for goaltender interference.
Domi, however, scored his 15th of the season at 16:53. It was his first goal since Dec. 9.
Hoffman scored a highlight-reel, one-handed goal on a breakaway at 14:11 of the first period, following a bad giveaway by Canadiens center Michael Chaput.
Montreal’s league-worst power play was successful in the second period, when Weber fired a slap shot past Reimer just 29 seconds after the restart to make it 1-1.
The goal was the Canadiens first at home with the man advantage since Dec. 1. Montreal had not scored on its previous 27 power-play opportunities at Bell Centre.
Danault gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead at 10:44 of the second, a no-look backhand shot after Weber’s shot bounced off the end boards behind Reimer.
After Domi made it 3-1, Kotkaniemi added another for Montreal with 5:38 left in the third period before Gallagher scored into the empty net with 1:36 remaining.
Notes: Jordie Benn earned his 100th NHL point in his 439th game.
Panthers: Home against Toronto on Friday.
Canadiens: At Columbus on Friday.