A fourth straight loss for Montreal Canadiens: 2-0 to Panthers
Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, left, blocks a shot from Florida Panthers' Nick Bjugstad, center, as Canadiens' Jeff Petry (26) defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, December 30, 2017 10:02PM EST
Still down on offense the Habs finished 2017 with a 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Connor Brickley and Vincent Trocheck had one goal and one assist each for the Panthers (17-16-5), who had a fifth win in a row. That was more than enough for Reimer, who stopped 35 shots.
At the other end of the ice, Carey Price was once again abandoned by his offense. Price made 31 saves, but the Habs suffered a fourth straight loss.
Price was 8-0-3 in his last 11 outings against the Panthers. His last defeat in regulation time against the South Florida team was on December 31, 2011.
Looking to flog his troops, head coach Claude Julien had reshaped his trios. He also left out striker Nicolas Deslauriers and defender Brett Lernout in favor of Byron Froese and David Schlemko. He was returning to the game after missing two matches due to a virus.
The Habs, however, continued to miss the attack. They have only three goals on their record in a four-game losing streak - one with equal strength and the other two on the power play.
Captain Max Pacioretty was unable to pull the strings in a 12th straight game. Pacioretty has scored just one goal in his last 21 games. He will not be the only one to blame, but he and gus teammates have been cleared for a sixth time already in 39 games this season.
The Canadiens concluded their trip of seven games with a record of 2-5-0. They'll be greeted by fans on Tuesday when the San Jose Sharks will be at the Bell Center.
A familiar scenario
The Canadiens started the game on the right foot, multiplying scoring opportunities in the first two minutes of the game. However, a penalty to Jeff Petry cut the Habs' breath and allowed the Panthers to threaten in turn.
Price had to be alert at the expense of Denis Malgin with just over two minutes to go, after Trocheck canceled a disallowance by beating Brendan Gallagher.
Reimer has been solid throughout the first twenty. He notably frustrated Paul Byron in breakaway, Joe Morrow when he had Gallagher in his paws and Alex Galchenyuk on a return after a shot from Jonathan Drouin from the top of the enclave.
The Panthers were the aggressors early in the second period and their efforts were rewarded at 4:02, when Brickley recovered a loose puck before surprising Price by shooting a shot.
The Canadiens took a long time to start applying pressure on the Panthers in the third period, and Trocheck finally made the final cut with 8:11 to go. He accepted MacKenzie Weegar's throw in a two-on-one run and was able to shoot in an open net.