Maxim Lapierre shines in Florida.
Maxim Lapierre registered his first NHL hat trick to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Florida still represents the only NHL franchise to have a winning record over the Montreal Canadiens. Since the arrival of the Panthers, the Habs seems to always find a way to struggle, play a bad game and lose to them.
But yesterday, Maxim Lapierre punched in three goals to dissipate his team's complexes over the Florida Panthers.
Into the second frame, Tomas Plekanec sent the Canadiens ahead with a nice shorthanded goal. But David Booth tied the game at 2 only a few moments later.
Lapierre was later jammed by Florida's goaltender, Craig Anderson, on a ''wrap around'' from behind the net. But he took the puck again and tried the same move towards the other end of the net.
Anderson struggled to move towards the other end to fend off Lapierre for a second time. The goaltender looked like he was swimming in a pool while Maxim roofed the puck into Florida's net for his first goal of the game. The goal counted as the game-winner as Montreal never lost their lead from this point on.
The third period was once again highlighted by Maxim Lapierre. The hero of the evening received a pass from Guillaume Latendresse and sent a screened shot that beated Craig Anderson again. Craig Anderson left the game for Tomas Vokoun after this goal.
Maxim Lapierre completed his hat trick in the last minute of the game when he stripped defense men Bryan McCabe of the puck on a great second effort to push the puck into the empty net.
Montreal has won the first two games of this four-game road trip and plays the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.
(Picture: Maxim Lapierre, Getty Images.)