for this game

Panthers hold off Canadiens

Jan 1, 2012 - 6:54 AM
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Tomas Fleischmann netted two goals as the Florida Panthers took a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

Fleischmann's second goal was an empty-netter with 41 seconds left in regulation that seemed to ice the game at 3-1, but Montreal's Erik Cole raced down the right side of the ice after the Canadiens won the ensuing faceoff and slipped a backhander past Scott Clemmensen 11 seconds later to bring Montreal back within a goal.

The Canadiens could not net the equalizer, though, despite firing a flurry of shots at the net in the closing seconds as Florida hung on for the win.

Shawn Matthias scored the other goal for the Panthers, winners of two of their past three games.

Jose Theodore started in net for Florida and stopped 9-of-10 shots, but left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Clemmensen entered in relief and allowed one goal on 18 shots.

The goaltender was knocked out of the game early in the second period when he was run into by Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov while he was trailing his man and Kulikov tumbled over Theodore, twisting the goaltender's legs underneath him.

Theodore did manage to skate off the ice under his own power, but was replaced by Clemmensen for the remainder of the game.

Travis Moen also scored for Montreal, which dropped its seventh game in its last eight tries.

Carey Price stopped 32-of-34 shots in defeat.

"The chances are there, we're making most of the plays," said Price. "I liked the energy level we had tonight, but it was just one more tough night for us."

Montreal struck first with a Moen slap shot from the top of the left circle at the 5:37 mark of the first period.

Theodore then made some big saves near the end of the first period, including a breakaway in the closing seconds of the frame to keep it a one-goal game after one.

A scrum broke out on the ice as the first period came to an end and when everything had settled, Panthers forward Krys Barch was issued a game misconduct. No reason was given at the time, but it was reported that an on- ice official overheard Barch use a racial slur towards Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, whose parents are Jamaican.

"He feels really bad that there was an insinuation that something inappropriate was said and now it has moved on to a league matter," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said about Barch. "Obviously, the Florida Panthers, Krys Barch and all of us are really shook by this that there is an insinuation that something was said that was inappropriate.

"I think this is always a very sensitive situation for anybody. We'll let the facts play out and make sure things are handled accordingly and move on from there. There is so much emotion in the game. The intensity is there, but when things happen that go beyond the game they need to be addressed."

When play resumed in the second period, Fleischmann knotted the game at one with a wrister from the top of the right circle that ripped into the top left corner of the net.

The score remained tied at one until the 3:08 mark of the third period when Matthias raced into the Montreal zone after a turnover in center ice and beat Price with a wrister from the high slot, setting the stage for the frantic final minute.

Game Notes

Cole's goal was the 200th of his career...Stephen Weiss recorded an assist for the Panthers. The helper was his 231st as a member of the Panthers, tying the franchise record in assists previously held by Olli Jokinen...Florida converted on 1-of-6 power play opportunities, while Montreal went 0-for-3 on the man advantage.