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game recap

Montoya, Trocheck help Panthers defeat Canadiens

Goaltender makes 27 saves; Florida has won three of four

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

MONTREAL -- A visit to the dentist was a bigger priority than postgame interviews for Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck, who let his hot stick do his talking Tuesday. 

Trocheck had a goal and an assist, and Jiri Hudler, Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov scored to power Florida to a 4-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Trocheck has two goals and eight points in his past four games, including a career-high four points in a 6-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. 

"He's playing very well lately," right wing Jaromir Jagr said. "He's skating and he's got a lot of confidence, and he's shooting the puck with a lot of confidence. He's a very underrated player. I'm glad he's underrated. People don't pay attention to him too much, but on the team we know how good he is." 

Trocheck, who was named the NHL Second Star of the Week on Monday, scored his 21st goal in the first period.

Video: FLA@MTL: Trocheck opens the scoring for the Panthers

Bjugstad scored at 5:10 of the second, late in a double minor high-sticking penalty to Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk. Trocheck, who had several teeth knocked out by Galchenyuk's cross-check, assisted on Hudler's 13th goal at 12:45 of the second, which put Florida up 3-0. 

Al Montoya made 27 saves for Florida, which has won three of its past four games despite a 3-2 loss at the New York Islanders on Monday. 

"I thought we played a good bounce-back game," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said.

Florida rebounded after failing to hold a 2-0 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the third period against the Islanders. 

"[That] was a tough game for us," Jagr said. "We played so well for 50 minutes, then for whatever reason, they had nothing to lose, they pushed it, we stopped skating, we made some mistakes. We're still a young team so I'm glad we learned from that. It was a tough loss but it wasn't in a bad situation. We knew we played back-to-backs so we knew that we could make it up [Tuesday], and we played from the first shift. We played [well], no question about it."

The victory, combined with losses by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, moved the Panthers (39-22-9) back into first place in the Atlantic Division. Florida is one point ahead of Boston and two in front of Tampa Bay.

Video: FLA@MTL: Bjugstad shows off his hand-eye coordination

Galchenyuk scored his 12th goal in 10 games for Montreal (32-32-6), which lost its second straight game since defenseman P.K. Subban was sidelined by a neck injury last Thursday. Mike Condon made 32 saves. 

"We have to find a way, that's our jobs," Canadiens defenseman Mark Barberio said. "We've got guys here, young guys who are getting opportunities and it's time to show what you can do and step up and play with passion." 

Trocheck made it 1-0 when he beat Condon from the lower right circle at 11:46 of the first period, finishing a three-way passing play with Brian Campbell and Reilly Smith on an odd-man rush.

Bjugstad made it 2-0 with his 12th goal at 5:10 of the second. He batted the rebound of Aaron Ekblad's wrist shot from the left point into the net for a power-play goal.

Video: FLA@MTL: Barkov buries Huberdeau's feed to pad lead

Montreal rookie defenseman Darren Dietz turned over the puck to Trocheck on the play that led to the Panthers' third goal. Trocheck went down the left side and drove behind the net on a wraparound to try and put a backhand past Condon, who made a save with his left pad before Hudler scored on the rebound. 

"He plays his game and he gets scoring chances every night so we really like the way he's skating and moving his feet," Gallant said. 

Galchenyuk scored his team-leading 26th goal at 17:23 to make it 3-1. He took a pass off the right boards from Max Pacioretty and beat Montoya from the right faceoff dot. Galchenyuk has scored 12 of Montreal's past 25 goals. 

Jonathan Huberdeau extended his point streak to five games when he set up Barkov's power-play goal at 11:32 of the third. 

"They're a good team. They're primed up, ready for the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]," Pacioretty said. "They made a lot of big deals at the deadline, and that's a team that I think is going to open up a lot of eyes in the playoffs."

Video: FLA@MTL: Montoya sprawls to rob Danault's rebound

Jagr got his 1,111th assist and 1,856th point on Barkov's goal. The capacity crowd cheered when his assist was announced. 

"Montreal, it's a big hockey town," Jagr said. "It's always special to play here. The people love hockey, they love their Canadiens team no matter what the score is. 

"I remember when I was playing for [the] New York Rangers; we had a 5-0 lead after 30 minutes and the fans were still cheering. I couldn't believe it, because if this one would happen in Madison Square Garden everybody would have left and [been] booing us. And it was the biggest surprise ever and they came back and they won 6-5. 

"But when they were down 5-0 and every time they have a shot on the net people go nuts, in that moment it was telling me the most about the fans here." 

Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson and center Jussi Jokinen did not play because of lower-body injuries each sustained blocking shots on Monday.

Video: Trocheck, Montoya lead Panthers to 4-1 win

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