Thursday, March 3, 2011

Panthers Fall to Montreal 4-0.

March 3, 2011

SUNRISE, FL - The Florida Panthers fell to the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 Thursday night at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise. With the loss, the Panthers fall to 26-31-7 on the year and are just two points away from being in the "bottom 3" of the league. (If the Panthers were to finish in the bottom 3, they'd be guaranteed at least the #3 overall draft pick and a chance at #1) The Canadiens continue to improve, hitting 35-23-7 on the year and closing to within six points of the Boston Bruins for 1st place in the Northeast Division.

Carey Price was phenomenal in the game, stopping all 30 shots he faced, and earning the number-one star on the night. His counterpart, Tomas Vokoun, was pulled just under nine minutes into the 1st after allowing two goals. Scott Clemmensen finished the game, allowing the remaining two goals in just over 51 minutes of play.

Hal Gill got on the board first for Montreal. The veteran defenseman scored at the 5:02 mark with a left point shot through traffic that got past Vokoun. Andrei Kostitsyn and James Wisniewski tallied assists on the opening goal.

Nearly four minutes later, at 8:54, Kostitsyn got a goal of his own, his 16th...slapping it from just behind the left circle and off the left wing post into the back of the net. Travis Moen and Lars Eller earned helpers on the goal, which signaled the end of Vokoun's night.

Picture taken on Dec 31, 2010 at the
BankAtlantic Center after the
Canadiens won in OT
Things did not get any better later in the game. After Clemmensen bailed the Panthers out of the first without further damage, they came back 5 minutes into the 3rd. (4:59 to be exact). After Beniot Pouliot intercepted the puck near the left wing blue line, he attempted to pass the puck. It went off a Panthers stick into the air and ended up in in the glove of David Desharnias. He was able to backhand it in while falling on the ice, and it went off Clemmensen's stick and in. It was Desharnias' 7th goal of the year.

The Canadiens put the icing on the cake in the third, Eller scored his fifth goal of the year. He tipped in Moan's "half-shot" (looked like a pass but ended up a shot). Wisniewski also assisted on the play.

The Panthers best chance of the night came in the 2nd when Stephen Weiss went coast to coast, seemingly going around defenders with ease, but his Price was up for the challenge, stopping Weiss' shot to preserve his 11th career shutout.

* * *
Notes: Hal Gill's goal was his first since December 31, 2009, which was against the Panthers in Sunrise. Florida was 0-3 on the PP and is in an 0-15 drought. Coach Pete DeBoer remains one win shy of 100 for his career. A crowd of 19,722 was listed for tonight's game, most of them fans of the Montreal Canadiens.

Three Stars: 3) James Wisniewski; 2) Andrei Kostitsyn; 1) Carey Price

Next Game: Saturday at Atlanta, 7:00 pm

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