Canadiens’ Michael Ryder celebrates his fourth goal of the season, crowded by Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun and defenceman Ruslan Salei.
Hans Deryk, Reuters
To paraphrase the legendary Montreal-native poet and singer Leonard Cohen: First we take Florida, then we take Manhattan.
The Canadiens completed a two-night, two-game sweep of the Sunshine State tonight, routing the Florida Panthers 5-1 after having beaten the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 on Thursday.
Now, it’s on to New York, where the Habs will take on the Rangers Sunday at Madison Square Garden for the final match of their six-game road trip, with the hope of running their post-Christmas winning streak to three.
And a varied scoresheet it was tonight: the Canadiens had goals from Guillaume Latendresse, his 11th; Michael Ryder – yes, that Michael Ryder – with his fourth; and Christopher Higgins, his 16th, all by the time the game was 5:03 old.
Tom Kostopoulos added his third of the season midway through the second on a nifty backhand.
Finally, on their 35th shot of the night, Panthers captain Olli Jokinen found the mark at 10:21 of the final period. before Mark Streit rounded out the scoring on the power play, Montreal’s sole man-advantage goal, at 16:57. It was Streit’s sixth of the year.
The Habs were roundly outshot, 41-21. Through the first two periods they managed just 12 shots on Vokoun and backup Craig Anderson, who were rotated in and out by Florida coach Jacques Martin, while Cristobal Huet blocked all 26 thrown Montreal’s way over the first 40 minutes.