Nick Suzuki’s two goals help Habs past Panthers

Nick Suzuki scored two goals and the host Montreal Canadiens ended a seven-game losing streak against the Florida Panthers with a 5-3 win on Tuesday night.

Joel Armia, Cole Caufield and Jake Evans also scored, Alex Newhook had two assists and Sam Montembeault made 37 saves for the Canadiens (29-33-12, 70 points), who have won four of five.

Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett also scored and Anthony Stolarz made 34 saves for Florida (47-24-5, 99 points), which has lost four of five and eight of 10 (2-7-1).

The Panthers played without two of their top forwards, Carter Verhaeghe (upper-body injury) and Matthew Tkachuk (illness), and defenseman Aaron Ekblad sustained an undisclosed injury late in the first period and did not return.

Florida came into the day two points back of the Boston Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division with seven games remaining for each team, including a matchup in Boston on Saturday.

The Canadiens trailed by a goal at the start of the second period, but tied it 2-2 at 5:58.

Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov tried to pass to his defensive partner in his own zone, but Suzuki intercepted the puck and scored from the slot.

Suzuki scored again with a tip-in while on a power play to move the Canadiens ahead 3-2 at 12:24 of the second.

Caufield scored his 21st goal of the season on a wraparound 33 seconds into the third period to extend the lead to 4-2, and Evans widened the lead further with a short-handed breakaway at 4:34.

Bennett scored with 1:16 left from the bottom of the left circle to make it 5-3.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at 9:16 of the first period when Lundell skated around a Montreal defender and scored from in close for his 10th goal of the season.

Stolarz made a save on a wrist shot by Michael Pezzetta, but Armia was in position to score the rebound and tie the score 1-1 at 10:12.

Florida moved back ahead at 13:13 of the first.

Vladimir Tarasenko centered a pass from the boards to Barkov, who was cutting down the middle. He faked a shot before cutting across the crease and scoring with a backhand as he tripped over Montembeault’s pads.

–Field Level Media