|Date of game: 12/15/2013
Recap: Montreal vs. Florida
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - In the midst of playing their best hockey, the Florida Panthers kept it going with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
Scott Clemmensen made 17 saves for a Panthers team that survived a frantic finish and has won three games in a row for the first time this season. Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad both scored in the second period for Florida, which is 5-1-0 in its last six contests.
"That was a pretty concerted effort to keep the puck out of our end," said Panthers head coach Peter Horachek. "You saw the character there when they're blocking shots. That's when you know your team is doing the right kind of thing."
Peter Budaj stopped 23 shots for the Canadiens, who have dropped three of four.
Alex Galchenyuk scored a power-play goal 2:28 into the third period, sweeping a rebound past Clemmensen from in front, but the Montreal forward was robbed later on a two-man advantage by Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
With Clemmensen out of position, Galchenyuk had an open net at which to shoot, but Kulikov got in the way to preserve Florida's one-goal lead.
A kicking motion wiped out a potential game-sealing tally for the Panthers' Brad Boyes with 1:09 remaining.
The Canadiens were buzzing around the Florida zone down the stretch, but couldn't produce an equalizer.
"We played 11 games in less than three weeks. Energy-wise, I could tell that they're drained," said Habs head coach Michel Therrien. "When you're at that level, there's no juice. Their execution isn't there and so what we've been asking of them hasn't been done well."
Winchester was all alone in front of the Montreal net and beat Budaj for a 1-0 Panthers lead 4:44 into the middle stanza. Bjugstad made it 2-0 at 7:11.Game Notes
Florida played without forward Jonathan Huberdeau (foot) ... Panthers forward
Scottie Upshall picked up his 200th career point with the secondary assist on
Bjugstad's goal ... The Panthers began a four-game road trip through Canada.