December 29, 2008
It was clear that Maxim Lapierre must have been talking to Andrei Kostitsyn over the last two days.
The fourth line center matched his teammate's performance from this past Saturday, earning his first career hat trick as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Florida Panthers tonight, 5-2.
Michael Frolik opened the scoring for the Panthers in the first period, but the Canadiens tied it up on an Alex Kovalev power-play goal.
Tomas Plekanec snagged a shorthanded goal early in the second. David Booth then tied it up for the Panthers with his team-leading 15th goal. Lapierre put the Canadiens ahead to end the period.
Lapierre's second goal came early in the third period, chasing Panthers goaltender Craig Anderson from the game. The Canadien closed out his hat trick with a short-handed, empty net goal.
You would not have thought this was the second game of a four-game road trip. The crowd predominantly supported the visiting team tonight, despite seeing them out-hit and out-drawn in the face-off circle.
Even Montreal winger Guillaume Latendresse did a "Lambeau Leap" up against the end glass in the vicinity of a group of Canadiens fans at game's end.
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price faced what could be considered a relaxing 28 shots from the Panthers, giving coach Guy Carbonneau the option to start him Tuesday against Tampa Bay.
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