Sunrise, Florida. — Florida Panthers captain Alexander Barkov scored a hat-trick in the first quarter and helped his team snap a three-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Barkov scored the first two goals of the game in the first 11 minutes and 50 seconds and made it 3-1 with the third goal of the period.
Florida also got a pair of goals from Matthew Tkachuk, Kater Verheig and Etu Rostarinen in the third quarter, and Sergey Bobrovski in the 25 saves were made in the victory.
“I’m obviously getting some bounce and playing with some really good players who are going to find me,” said Barkov, who finished with five points. “We play exactly the way we want to. We have to keep it up and play the right way.”
Montreal, which lost their last four games, got goals from Arber Xhekaj and Josh Anderson.
Sam Montembeault, who received an exemption from Florida State for Montreal in 2021, took the loss after making 34 saves.
Barkov scored his fourth career hat-trick, scoring three goals in very different ways.
The first came at 2:37 when Gustav Forsling’s shot hit Barkov’s skate and went over Montembeault.
Barkov, who played his first game after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury, got his second on a quick shot from the left circle and his third at the net Loose puck scoring.
“He changes every part of your game,” Florida coach Paul Morris said of Barkov’s return.
Florida took a 3-2 lead heading into Game 2 after Anderson scored his ninth field goal of the season in Game 1 with 46.1 seconds left in the first period. Contest.
Tkachuk deflected Brandon Montour’s long shot at the 6:22 mark of the second quarter, giving Florida some breathing room for his second powerhouse goal of the game.
“I think we were ready early in the game,” Morris said. “I think we gave up six even-powered shots in the last two quarters. We had to play well there and lead.”
Verhaeghe’s 18th team goal came at 4:14 of the third quarter. Tkachuk made it 6-2 with his team’s third powerhouse goal of the night at 7:24 of the third quarter.
“Barkov came back from injury and he obviously had a really good first period,” Montreal coach Martin St.Louis said. “The way they finished the game. These are repeats you can’t buy. They’ve learned from it.”
Notes: Barkov’s hat-trick in the opening 15 minutes and 22 seconds made it the fastest three-goal game in franchise history. His second goal came on a power attack that led him to 67 career goals for Florida State. Barkov joined Scott Mellanby, who started the team’s expansion season in 1993 and was the team’s second captain. Barkov already holds the team goalscoring record, now 229. Not only did Florida have Barkov back from injury, but defenseman Radko Gudas returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a concussion. … Linesman Ryan Jackson appeared to injure his knee midway through the third quarter when he was brought down during an altercation between Florida State’s Mark Stahl and Montreal’s Joel Edmondson. Florida State athletic coach Dave DiNapoli tended to Jackson on the ice. Jackson was assisted off the ice by Starr and DiNapoli and taken to the Florida infirmary.
Canadiens: At Washington on Saturday night.
Panthers: At Carolina on Friday night.
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