|Date of game: 3/28/2015
Recap: Montreal vs. Florida
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Max Pacioretty scored at 2:59 of overtime as the Montreal Canadiens clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
"At the end of the day, we need to get momentum going into the playoffs," Pacioretty said. "It's a good step in the right direction, but we know we have work to do."
Vincent Trocheck was called for high sticking at 2:52 and the Canadiens won the ensuing faceoff.
Working the puck down to the low right side, David Desharnais received it there and quickly whipped it to the front where Pacioretty pushed it in for the win.
Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller also scored, while Carey Price stopped 21 shots for the Canadiens, who snapped a two-game slide.
Montreal clinched a postseason berth for a third straight season, and holds a three-point lead over Tampa Bay for first place in the Atlantic Division and has a one-point lead over the New York Rangers for first overall in the Eastern Conference. Montreal hosts Tampa Bay on Monday.
Aleksander Barkov scored both goals for the Panthers, who had won three of four coming in. Roberto Luongo turned aside 22 shots in the loss.
"He definitely gave us a chance," Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell said of Luongo.
Florida has 83 points on the season and sits four back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The only goal of the first period was scored by Montreal as Jeff Petry's one- timer from the left point was blocked, but the puck bounced to the right side where Eller one-timed it home with 2:23 to play in the frame.
Florida tied the game 6:09 into the second off a crisp passing play that saw Jonathan Huberdeau find a wide open Barkov, who came down the slot and lifted a backhand over the glove of Price.
Just over seven minutes later, the Panthers made it a 2-1 game as Huberdeau's hard pass from the top of the right circle to the slot was redirected in by Barkov for a power-play goal.
However, the Habs tied the game with 5:25 to play in the second with a power- play goal of their own when Galchenyuk was holding the puck at the right side looking for an open man before skating it in and wristing the puck over Luongo for his 20th of the season.Game Notes
Florida continues its five-game road trip in Ottawa on Sunday ... Montreal was
2-for-4 on the power play while Florida was 1-for-1 ... Luongo stayed at 399
wins in his career.