for this game

Bouillon lifts Canadiens over Panthers

Oct 21, 2008 - 4:12 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Thus far, the Montreal Canadiens have lived up to their hype.

Defenseman Francis Bouillon snapped a tie midway through the third period as the Canadiens edged the Florida Panthers, 3-1, on Monday.

"Everybody played good today, (goaltender Jaroslav Halak) made the big saves and a big goal like that for me is important," Bouillon said. "It doesn't happen too often during the season, so a winning goal like that is nice to have."

With the victory, Montreal (5-0-1) earned its fifth win in the season's first six games for the first time since 1982-83.

Playing his first contest in 2008-09 after recovering from a lingering a knee injury, Bouillon scored his first goal of the season with 9:07 remaining in the third period.

"I never saw the shot, there was a guy in the high slot and those are the toughest shots," Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun said. "You can look over (to) him and keep your position or look from the side, I looked from the right side and he shot it to the left side and I never saw the puck. Sometimes you pick it up late, but I never saw it."

Halak made 35 saves in his second start in place of Carey Price this season. The 23-year-old Slovak allowed one goal in a 6-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 11 to help ignite Montreal's current winning streak.

"That's why I'm there; I've got to stop the puck, that's my job," Halak said. "The other guys have to score and I have to block the shots. First you have to be lucky and then to watch the shots and watch the puck all the way through, that's probably the key."

Defenseman Keith Ballard converted a pass from Cory Stillman just over 3 1/2 minutes before Bouillon struck to forge a tie for the Panthers, who remain the only one of the NHL's other 29 existing teams with a winning record overall against the Canadiens.

"We gave them a lot of shots but Vokoun was huge for us, (Montreal) had a couple of opportunities and took advantage of them," Ballard said. "That's one of the best teams in the NHL and we outplayed them for the most part around their net. They got some momentum and got in our zone for a bit, but we just have to go into Ottawa with the same attitude and outwork (the Senators on Wednesday)."

The Panthers have gone 25-17-6 with five non-regulation losses against Montreal since joining the league in 1993-94.

"Maybe we think it's going to be an easy game and we get off to a slow start, so we have to learn our lesson and start from the beginning," Halak said.

Captain Saku Koivu opened the scoring 2:07 into the second, notching his 600th career point. Defenseman Andrei Markov extended his assists and points streaks to six games by setting up Koivu's goal during a 4-on-4 play.

"I think when you start getting to the older days and the end of your career, that's when you appreciate more the team's success," Koivu said. "Everyone's having more fun when it (a milestone) happens. Obviously 600 is a good number and when it happens when the team is winning, it's a good time."

Tomas Plekanec tallied a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining in the game to secure the victory.

The Canadiens won their last two contests against the Panthers - both played in Florida in 2007-08 - by a combined score of 7-2. Last season, just one goal separated the two teams in three of the four matchups, with two outings requiring overtime or shootout.

This win, however, continued a positive stretch to start the season.

"I think when you can get some points early in the season, those are going to be huge ones in the end," Koivu said. "When you can get a streak going right away, it's a positive thing. But tonight's game I don't think we played that well, I don't think the focus was there. We scored a lot of goals in the first four-five games and there's going to be nights when it's not easy.

"That's when the patience comes in and we have to be a lot tighter defensively to be able to win more games. You have to learn from your mistakes in games like this and take the positive that we earned two points."

Vokoun made 31 saves in the losing effort.

"It was a good game, both teams played hard but we didn't come up with two points at the end," Vokoun said. "I think it was a pretty good effort; they are a great team we battled hard. It was a pretty even game, we got a big positive from that. It's not a positive that we lost, but we know we can play with anybody.

"They won it, but it was up for grabs late in the third. Sometimes that's just the way things go."

As part of their centennial season celebrations, the Canadiens wore their white uniforms as they did for home games from 1970-71 to 2002-03.






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  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 1 1
    MONTREAL 0 1 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MON - SAKU KOIVU 3 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEX TANGUAY) 2:07
    3RD PRD: FLA - KEITH BALLARD 1 (CORY STILLMAN) 7:20
    MON - FRANCIS BOUILLON 1 (UNASSISTED) 10:53
    MON - (SH) TOMAS PLEKANEC 1 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, ROMAN HA

    Oct 20 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    MONTREAL 3
    3RD PRD: MON - (SH) TOMAS PLEKANEC 1 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, ROMAN HAMRLIK)
    19:38

    Panthers 1, Canadiens 3  3rd - 0:22Oct 20 10:03 PM
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  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    MONTREAL 2
    3RD PRD: MON - FRANCIS BOUILLON 1 (UNASSISTED) 10:53

    Panthers 1, Canadiens 2  3rd - 9:07Oct 20 9:46 PM
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    FLORIDA 1
    MONTREAL 1
    3RD PRD: FLA - KEITH BALLARD 1 (CORY STILLMAN) 7:20

    Panthers 1, Canadiens 1  3rd - 12:40Oct 20 9:41 PM
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    Panthers 0, Canadiens 1  3rd - 16:00Oct 20 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 0
    MONTREAL 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MON - SAKU KOIVU 3 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEX TANGUAY) 2:07
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 9 15 24
    MON 10 14 24
    GOALIES: FLA - TOMAS

    Oct 20 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    MONTREAL 1
    2ND PRD: MON - SAKU KOIVU 3 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEX TANGUAY) 2:07

    Panthers 0, Canadiens 1  2nd - 17:53Oct 20 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0
    MONTREAL 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 9 9
    MON 10 10
    GOALIES: FLA - TOMAS VOKOUN
    MON - JAROSLAV HALAK

    Oct 20 8:14 PM
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