There was a really good hockey team at the BB&T Center … and the Montreal Canadiens were there, too.
That’s how things have been going lately for the Florida Panthers, who beat the out-of-contention but still tradition-rich Canadiens 5-0 on Thursday night.
The Panthers have been the hottest team in the NHL since Jan. 30, sporting a 14-3-1 record in that span. The Panthers also tied a franchise record on Thursday with their seventh consecutive home win.
Florida got goals by Jonathan Huberdeau, setting a career high with his 21st of the season; Nick Bjugstad, who has four scores in the past two games; enforcer Micheal Haley, who tallied just his third of the season; Evgenii Dadonov, his 21st, and Vincent Trocheck, his 26th.
Goalie Roberto Luongo earned the shutout.
As for the teams the Panthers are chasing for the two wild-card berths in the Eastern Conference, the New Jersey Devils lost on Thursday and the Columbus Blue Jackets won. Florida trails the Devils by three points and Columbus by two, and the Panthers have three games in hand when compared with both.