for this game

Panthers strike early, maintain hold over Canadiens

Dec 19, 2007 - 4:50 AM
By Mark Lidbetter PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MONTREAL (Ticker) - The Montreal Canadiens may be one of professional sports' most storied franchises, but they don't seem to have an answer for the Florida Panthers.

Jozef Stumpel and Brett McLean each scored first-period goals to help the Panthers defeat the Canadiens, 3-2, on Tuesday. It was Florida's fourth consecutive victory over Montreal.

Montreal has claimed 24 Stanley Cup titles in its existence, with the last one coming in the 1992-93 season - the season before Florida began play as an expansion team. The Panthers are the only team that can claim a winning record against the Canadiens, going 27-16-4 with six ties.

"It's not too hard to get up to play games like this," Panthers center Stephen Weiss said. "It's an exciting building to play in especially against a team like Montreal. Tonight, we had a solid game and deserved the win."

Florida scored twice on eight shots in the first period by capitalizing on Montreal's sloppy play. The lack of offensive discipline led to only three shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes for the Canadiens.

"The first period we were waiting to see what would happen and we didn't have the jump (needed) to win the battles in the corner," Canadiens center Saku Koivu said. "They were ready, they wanted the puck and scored those first two goals and they are a very good team when they have the lead. They play a tight defensive game.

"We have games where we seem to be playing very well for 40 minutes and then there's 15-20 minutes where we get in trouble."

Stumpel opened the scoring at 14:13 of the first, converting a pass from Olli Jokinen on a perfectly played 2-on-1 break. Jokinen forced defenseman Andrei Markov and goaltender Carey Price to commit before feeding a streaking Stumpel, who fired the puck into the open net.

"Olli made them think he was shooting and he made a really nice play," Stumpel said. "All I had to do was shoot it into the open net."

Price's miscue with 1:48 remaining in the first period allowed the Panthers to take a 2-0 advantage.

The rookie netminder skated to the right corner to make a clearing pass only to see the puck end up on the stick of McLean just inside the Montreal blue line. McLean one-timed the puck into the vacant net for an unassisted goal.

"I understand mistakes are part of the game," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "I believed it as a player and I believe it as a coach. With Carey, I think he was careless. He's going to learn, he's still young and we don't expect him to be perfect, we don't ask him to be perfect - but he needs to be better."

Weiss blasted the puck from just inside the blue line that beat Price, giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead with 7:05 remaining in the third period.

Markov broke up Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun's bid for his third shutout in 11 days when he scored at 8:25 of the third period.

With Florida holding a 3-1 lead, Markov struck again with another wrister with 24 seconds remaining, but Montreal couldn't net the equalizer.

"We know there's no easy games, we had a good cushion but it was still closer than we would have liked," Vokoun said. "We hung on and won the game and that's what matters. We need to learn to play through those crucial moments and win the game."

Vokoun finished with 23 saves to win two consecutive starts for the first time this month for the Panthers, who have not lost in regulation time in Montreal since January 28, 2003 - going 3-0-1-3 in that time.

During the final scramble in which Montreal was desperately trying to notch the equalizer, Koivu was assessed a major penalty for cross-checking and a game misconduct with no time remaining. The Canadiens' captain was unaware in the dressing room of the call.

"There was a play and I was in the corner, it (the call) was for what?" Koivu said. "Cross-checking? I don't know."

The call may result in Koivu sitting out for one game, eliminating him from the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Washington Capitals.

Price finished with 27 saves for the Canadiens, who begin a six-game road trip that will take them away from the Bell Centre until January 3.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 2 0 1 3
    MONTREAL 0 0 2 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - JOZEF STUMPEL 5 (OLLI JOKINEN) 14:13
    FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 2 (UNASSISTED) 18:12
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 6 (GREGORY CAMPBELL) 7:05
    MON - ANDREI MARKOV 7 (KYLE CHIPCHURA, MIKE KOMISAREK) 8:25
    MON -

    Dec 18 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 3
    MONTREAL 2
    3RD PRD: MON - ANDREI MARKOV 8 (SAKU KOIVU) 19:36

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 9:55 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 3
    MONTREAL 1
    3RD PRD: MON - ANDREI MARKOV 7 (KYLE CHIPCHURA, MIKE KOMISAREK) 8:25

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 3
    MONTREAL 0
    3RD PRD: FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 6 (GREGORY CAMPBELL) 7:05

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 2 0 2
    MONTREAL 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - JOZEF STUMPEL 5 (OLLI JOKINEN) 14:13
    FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 2 (UNASSISTED) 18:12
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 8 15 23
    MON 3 9

    Dec 18 9:02 PM


  • CORRECTION
    NHL FLORIDA 2
    MONTREAL 0 7:53 LEFT, 2ND PRD

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 8:49 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 4
    MONTREAL 0 19:55 LEFT, 2ND PRD

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 2 2
    MONTREAL 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - JOZEF STUMPEL 5 (OLLI JOKINEN) 14:13
    FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 2 (UNASSISTED) 18:12
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 8 8
    MON 3 3
    GOALI

    Dec 18 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 2 (UNASSISTED) 18:12

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 8:07 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: FLA - JOZEF STUMPEL 5 (OLLI JOKINEN) 14:13

    Panthers vs. CanadiensDec 18 7:59 PM