After a pair of disappointing efforts, the Montreal Canadiens
resumed their winning ways their last time out.
The Florida Panthers have been playing well of late, too.
The Canadiens try to continue their recent success against the
visiting Panthers as these Atlantic Division foes meet for the
first time Sunday.
Montreal (20-11-3) had limited opponents to 19 goals during a
9-0-1 stretch before suffering back-to-back losses, 6-0 to Los
Angeles on Tuesday and 2-1 at Philadelphia on Thursday. The
Canadiens, though, bounced back two days later with a 1-0 overtime
road win over the New York Islanders.
“We were absolutely more intense,” coach Michel Therrien said.
“We wanted to be physical. We wanted to play a hard-nosed game.
This is something we didn’t do the last two games, and guys
Max Pacioretty scored his team-best 12th goal 1:51 into OT and
Carey Price made 21 saves to record his second shutout. Price
lowered his goals-against average to 2.00, the NHL’s sixth-lowest
“That was a really good hard-fought win,” Price said. “We played
a really solid game from start to finish. We knew it would be low
scoring game, and we’re playing really well, patiently waiting for
our chance. The effort was there all night.”
The Canadiens now try to keep things going against the Panthers,
whom they outscored 10-3 in taking all three matchups last season.
Montreal is 14-6-1 in the series dating to December 2007, including
6-2-1 at home.
Sitting in seventh place in the division, the Panthers (11-17-5)
are enjoying their best stretch of the season. Florida has won four
of five after beating Washington 3-2 on Friday behind Tomas
Kopecky’s goal in the 10th round of a shootout.
“Obviously it feels good, especially to win the game and get
that extra point,” Kopecky said. “We need every point right now and
it was just something for the guys. The guys got a good laugh out
of it and that’s what it’s all about. Have fun and work hard.”
Scott Clemmensen had gone winless while posting a 3.89 GAA in
his first five games before making 23 saves against the
“December whatever it is, my first win of the season,”
Clemmensen told the team’s official website. “It’s been a long road
here and (I) just kind of stick with it. Hey, we got the win
regardless and the boys were kind enough to bestow the hat upon me
Clemmensen’s play could prove crucial going forward after the
Panthers placed Tim Thomas (groin) on injured reserve Saturday.
Clemmensen had gone 6-0-0 with a 1.68 GAA in seven games against
the Canadiens before allowing all four goals in a 4-1 road loss
Price, who made 27 saves in that game, went on to stop all 26
shots he faced in a 1-0 overtime win at Florida on Feb. 14. He’s
gone 5-4-1 in 10 career matchups against the Panthers while
compiling a 1.88 GAA, his lowest mark against any team he’s faced
more than five times.
Montreal has killed off 25 of its opponents’ last 26 power-play
chances. The Panthers are 0 for their last 14 on the man
Canadiens enforcer George Parros, acquired from Florida this
offseason, is uncertain to face his former team. Parros didn’t
return after taking a punch from Islanders forward Eric Boulton in
a first-period fight Saturday.