SUNRISE (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Florida Panthers are set to kick off the final homestand of a very disappointing season on Monday.
The Montreal Canadiens attempt to clinch their third division title in five seasons when they continue their three-game road trip against the Panthers.
Montreal can lock up first place in the Atlantic with a non-shootout victory as it owns an eight-point lead – and also would hold the tiebreaker – over Toronto and Ottawa, who both have five games remaining.
The Canadiens, who captured the Atlantic in 2014-15 and the Northeast Division two seasons earlier, are riding a four-game winning streak after edging Tampa Bay 2-1 in overtime on Saturday in the opener of their trek.
Phillip Danault scored a goal and set up Alexander Radulov’s winner in the extra session to give him four points over his last three contests.
Florida returns to the Sunshine State for its final homestand of the season after coming away winless on its four-game road trip.
The Panthers, who will miss the playoffs for the 14th time in 16 seasons, scored only two goals in each game on the trek – including Saturday’s 5-2 setback in Boston.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet East, RDS (Montreal), FSN Florida
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (45-24-9): Carey Price played in his 60th game of the season Saturday, marking the fourth time he reached the plateau in his career.
The former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, who was in the crease a career-high 72 times during the 2010-11 campaign, is two starts away from 500 in the NHL.
Captain Max Pacioretty notched a pair of assists against the Lightning, with the first being the 200th of his career.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (33-34-11): Aleksander Barkov is one point behind Vincent Trocheck (53) for the team lead but has missed two straight games with an upper-body injury.
The 21-year-old Finn has matched his career high with 31 assists and is two shy of 100 in the NHL.
Reto Berra (0-4-0, 3.54 goals-against average, .870 save percentage) could get another shot at his first win as a Panther as he has made two consecutive starts with James Reimer (upper body) and Roberto Luongo (lower body) both sidelined.
- Panthers LW Jonathan Huberdeau’s next contest will be the 300th of his career.
- Montreal C Torrey Mitchell missed Saturday’s game due to the flu and is day-to-day.
- Florida concludes the home portion of its schedule against St. Louis and Buffalo on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, before finishing 2016-17 at Washington on Sunday.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Sports Direct Inc. contributed to this report.)