About last night: Primeau's glove a concern in loss

Cayden Primeau allowed five goals on 29 shots in a 5-1 loss for the Montreal Canadiens against the Florida Panthers.

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The Montreal Canadiens had a third-period meltdown en route to a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on Thursday night.

Cayden Primeau was solid early but gave up four goals in the third in the defeat. Johnathan Kovacevic’s fourth of the season was Montreal’s lone goal on the night.

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The team lost Alex Newhook to a lower-body injury in the third period.

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It was a scoreless first period. Newhook actually left the game for the dressing room early after hitting boards awkwardly, but he came back.

Fast-forward to the second period. It took until 7:07 for a team to break the goose egg, and it was Panthers captain Alexsander Barkov who stole the puck from an ill-advised Gustav Lindstrom pass along the Florida blue line and took it down the ice. It was the first of five glove-side goals against Primeau.

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Florida led 1-0 after 40 minutes, and it only took eight seconds to add to the lead in the third. Sam Bennett beat Primeau glove side once again to make it 2-0.

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Just over three minutes later, Evan Rodrigues followed suit, beating Primeau’s glove from further out. 3-0 Panthers.

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Carter Verhaeghe made it four straight through the mitt to give Florida a commanding 4-0 lead.

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Montreal did manage to break Sergei Bobrovsky’s shutout bid when Kovacevic’s shot went through the Panther netminder’s glove and into the back of the net to make it 4-1. Bobrovsky went over 118 minutes between goals allowed.

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In the final moments of the game, Florida added another goal, and Josh Anderson vented his frustrations on Jonah Gadjovich with a spirited scrap. It was another night off the scoresheet for Anderson despite getting multiple chances.

Kovacevic was the lone goal scorer and now the Habs defence accounts for 28 per cent of the team’s offence this season. He was Montreal’s most impactful player by a mile according to Hockey Stat Cards.

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But the big story was Primeau and his glove getting exposed in the third period by a talented Panthers squad. By necessity, the Canadiens have carried three goaltenders all season specifically to protect the 24-year-old goalie from being exposed to waivers. It’s unlikely the team would attempt to send him down after one bad game, but the liveblog commenters spent the evening debating whether he’s got the upside to warrant these special circumstances.

Alex Newhook will be re-evaluated tomorrow for his lower-body injury. The Habs were nearly shutout for the second time in three games and the power play is back to being anemic, so they can’t really afford to lose their best goal scorer at the moment.

3. “Just send him down to Laval, after tonight, he’s in no danger of being claimed.” — Ryan Katz

2. “And if he is claimed, it probably doesn’t matter anymore. Just keep Monty and Jake until Fowler joins the team. If all it takes to beat him is a shot to his glove side, every team will be aware of that anyway.” — Carin Latzel

1. “I’m not impulsive when it comes to player evaluation but enough already; Cayden Primeau is NOT currently an NHL-quality goaltender. He’s had ample time to prove himself. No. Just no.” — Don Thompson

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