Canadiens end road trip with win over Panthers
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Benoit Pouliot's third-period goal proved to be the difference, as the Montreal Canadiens closed out a successful road trip with a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.
Michael Cammalleri and Marc-Andre Bergeron both scored on the power play for the Canadiens, who posted a 6-1-0 record on their seven-game trek. Tomas Plekanec and Hal Gill also tallied for Montreal, while Andrei Markov collected three assists.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 32 shots in the win.
Keith Ballard, Nathan Horton, Michael Frolik and Radek Dvorak lit the lamp for the Panthers, who have lost three straight and four of five overall. Tomas Vokoun allowed all five goals on 42 shots to take the loss.
Consecutive delay of game penalties for clearing the puck over the glass resulted in a lengthy two-man advantage for Montreal's top-ranked unit. Horton was guilty at the end of the middle session, then Panthers defenseman Jordan Leopold went to the box early in the third period.
The Canadiens grabbed a 4-3 lead on Bergeron's bullet from the point at the 1:52 mark. Montreal led 5-3 when Pouliot hammered home the rebound of a Scott Gomez shot at 4:29.
Dvorak made it a one-goal game at 6:03, but Florida couldn't produce an equalizer.
The Panthers drew first blood on the power play at the 9:19 mark of the opening frame. As Montreal left winger Andrei Kostitsyn served a hooking penalty, Ballard dashed down the left side of the ice, made a nifty move to get around Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges and stashed the puck behind Halak.
Montreal tied the game a little over two minutes later on Gill's blast from the left point, but the home team regained the lead when Horton used the backhand to beat Halak on a breakaway with 4:52 remaining in the first period.
The Habs capitalized on a tripping infraction assessed to Florida captain Bryan McCabe, tying the game on Cammalleri's one-timer of a Markov feed at 3:18 of the middle stanza.
Montreal then seized the lead 2:02 after the diminutive Cammalleri netted his team-leading 20th goal of the season.
Markov's drive from the point was knocked down in front by Panthers defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. But the puck slid right to Plekanec, who, on one knee, managed to sweep the disc into the back of the net.
Florida knotted the score when Frolik took a pass from Norton and ripped a shot between the pads of Halak with 7:52 remaining in the second period.
Gomez and Brian Gionta each had two assists for Montreal...Markov has three goals and eight assists in seven games since returning from a lower-body injury...Florida left winger Cory Stillman was back in the lineup after missing 20 games with a knee injury...The Panthers wrap up their three-game homestand Sunday against Pittsburgh...Montreal returns home to welcome Buffalo on Sunday.