for this game

Canadiens tally three in first, rout Panthers

Dec 29, 2007 - 5:51 AM
By Rick Menning PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) - It took just over five minutes and three shots for the Montreal Canadiens to turn Friday's contest into a laughter.

Guillaume Latendresse, Michael Ryder and Christopher Higgins each tallied in the first 5:03 of the game to lead the Canadiens to a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

Higgins finished with a goal and two assists and Cristobal Huet stopped 40 shots for Montreal, which has won the past 10 games in which it has scored four or more goals.

"We came out ready to play and took it to them and that's so important in this league, especially when you are on the road," Huet said. "You want to establish yourself and we got a great cushion early."

Having defeated the Panthers only once in regulation since the beginning of the 2003-04 season and owning a 1-5 record at the BankAtlantic Center over that stretch, the Canadiens brought an end to those struggles with the furious rally in the opening minutes.

"It's not too often that something like that happens," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "I thought we took the right approach at the beginning and carried it through. We went on the attack."

Tomas Vokoun, who had given up only three goals in two previous starts against Montreal, clearly was not on the top of his game.

Starting at the 1:42 mark, Latendresse - from a difficult angle directly on the goal line to Vokoun's left side - found an opening and fired a one-timer into the far corner.

"Sometimes you get breaks and sometimes you don't and we just made some mistakes," Vokoun said. "I didn't even touch the puck and it was 1-0."

Just over three minutes later, Ryder took a perfect feed from Higgins and easily beat Vokoun on a 2-on-none break to make it 2-0.

"You don't expect to see that play develop like that, but I was pretty much wide open and he (Higgins) passed it to me perfectly so I better not have missed," Ryder said. "I finally had some luck and just had to complete the play."

It took only 13 more seconds for the surging Canadiens to find the back of the net and score for the third time on three shots.

Streaking down the left side following a Florida timeout, Higgins ripped a pinpoint liner between Vokoun's pads to complete the first-period outburst.

Florida Coach Jacques Martin did not put the blame entirely on Vokoun.

"If you don't work (as a team) and don't play the way you are supposed to, the goalie is not there to cover for you," Martin said. "It starts with the team."

Vokoun was replaced after the third goal by Craig Anderson, who held Montreal scoreless the rest of the period.

"I pulled (Vokoun) to shake things up more than anything else," Martin said.

Despite Vokoun's rough start, Martin re-inserted his starting goalie at the beginning of the second period. Anderson faced three shots and saved all three.

Florida was aggressive and outshot Montreal, 10-1, over the first 10 minutes of the second period, but the Canadiens deflated any hopes the Panthers had for a rally. Tom Kostopoulos took advantage of a bad clearing attempt and lifted a backhander past Vokoun, who had to that point given up four goals on six shots against him.

"We felt like they were coming at us in the second period, so in the third we changed things up a little and it worked out with that last goal," Carbonneau said.

Florida, clearly frustrated by Huet all night, took out its aggression on the Montreal players, leading to three separate fights and multiple roughing penalties in the contest.

"Their goalie saw the puck all night and came up big," Martin said. "I thought we had a chance because we started to work, but he was just there to stop us at every chance we had."

Olli Jokinen kept the Panthers from being shut out when he slipped a wrister past Huet midway through the third period.

"Every guy has to be accountable and be prepared," Jokinen said. "The first five minutes we weren't ready and they capitalized on our mistakes."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 3 1 1 5
    FLORIDA 0 0 1 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE 11 (ROMAN HAMRLIK, SAKU KOIVU)
    1:42
    MON - MICHAEL RYDER 4 (CHRIS HIGGINS, JOSH GORGES) 4:50
    MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 14 (MAXIM LAPIERRE) 5:03
    2ND PRD: MON - TOM KOSTOPOULOS 3 (MARK STREIT) 9:55

    Dec 28 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    FLORIDA 1
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) MARK STREIT 6 (CHRIS HIGGINS, ANDREI MARKOV) 16:57

    Canadiens vs. PanthersDec 28 9:59 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 4
    FLORIDA 1
    3RD PRD: FLA - OLLI JOKINEN 20 (ANTHONY STEWART) 10:21

    Canadiens vs. PanthersDec 28 9:44 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 3 1 4
    FLORIDA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE 11 (ROMAN HAMRLIK, SAKU KOIVU)
    1:42
    MON - MICHAEL RYDER 4 (CHRIS HIGGINS, JOSH GORGES) 4:50
    MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 14 (MAXIM LAPIERRE) 5:03
    2ND PRD: MON - TOM KOSTOPOULOS 3 (MARK

    Dec 28 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 4
    FLORIDA 0
    2ND PRD: MON - TOM KOSTOPOULOS 3 (MARK STREIT) 9:55

    Canadiens vs. PanthersDec 28 8:51 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 3 3
    FLORIDA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE 11 (ROMAN HAMRLIK, SAKU KOIVU)
    1:42
    MON - MICHAEL RYDER 4 (CHRIS HIGGINS, JOSH GORGES) 4:50
    MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 14 (MAXIM LAPIERRE) 5:03
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD T

    Dec 28 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    FLORIDA 0
    1ST PRD: MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 14 (MAXIM LAPIERRE) 5:03

    Canadiens vs. PanthersDec 28 7:49 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    FLORIDA 0
    1ST PRD: MON - MICHAEL RYDER 4 (CHRIS HIGGINS, JOSH GORGES) 4:50

    Canadiens vs. PanthersDec 28 7:48 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    FLORIDA 0
    1ST PRD: MON - GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE 11 (ROMAN HAMRLIK, SAKU KOIVU)
    1:42

    Canadiens vs. PanthersDec 28 7:41 PM