SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Artturi Lehkonen scored twice in the third period and had an assist to help the Montreal Canadiens clinch the Atlantic Division title with a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Monday night.
Andrew Shaw and Alexander Radulov also scored for the Canadiens, and Charlie Lindgren stopped 31 shots in his second NHL start.
Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida and Reto Berra finished with 27 saves.
Lehkonen put Montreal ahead 2-1 at 1:27 of the third as he beat Berra with a rising shot from between the circles high to the glove side. He made it a two-goal game when he followed Paul Byron’s breakaway attempt by knocking in the rebound for his 16th with 3:11 remaining.
The 23-year-old Lindgren had to stop a 3-on-1 rush midway through the third period to preserve the lead en route to his first win since beating Carolina 4-2 last April 7.
Montreal, 0-2-1 in its previous three visits, came out aggressively with point-back shots at Berra. The tenacity paid off as Shaw took a pass from Alex Galchenyuk and sent a wrist shot from close range past Berra’s stick side for his 12th with 6:48 to go in the opening period.
Marchessault tied it at 8:57 of the second as he took a cross-ice pass from Michael Sgarbossa and slipped the puck past a sprawled Lindgren for his 30th.
Radulov capped the scoring with an empty-netter with about 1 1/2 minutes left.
The Canadiens killed off a 5-on-3 short-handed situation late in the second period with Shaw and Phillip Danault serving minor penalties, to keep the game deadlocked. The Panthers managed only one shot over that 1:08 span with the Canadiens down two men.
NOTES: Marchessault, who has 11 goals in his last 16 games, became the first Panther with 30 or more goals since David Booth totaled 31 in the 2008-09 season.
Canadiens: At Buffalo on Wednesday night.
Panthers: Host St. Louis on Thursday night.
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