SUNRISE, Fla. -- Tomas Fleischmann scored two goals,
including an empty-netter with 40.2 seconds remaining that ended up
being the game-winner as the Florida Panthers beat the Montreal
Canadiens, 3-2, on Saturday night.
Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen bounced back from his worst
outing of the season the night before against the New York Rangers
by stopping 17 of Montreal's last 18 shots. He replaced Jose
Theodore 4:16 into the second period after Theodore left with a
lower body injury.
The Canadiens struck first at the 5:37 mark of the first period
when Travis Moen blasted a slap shot from the left circle 47 feet
out past Theodore off assists from Lars Eller and Tomas Kaberle. It
was Moen's first goal against the Panthers this season.
Fleischmann tied the game with a power-play goal 3:46 into the
second period off assists from Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell and
Shawn Matthias broke the tie 3:08 into the third with his seventh
goal of the season.
Clemmensen turned away another Moen shot with 14 seconds left
and then got help when Mike Weaver and Weiss blocked shots in the
Montreal lost its second straight game, both in the Sunshine
State and goaltender Carey Price dropped to 13-14-7 on the season
with the loss as he surrendered three goals on 35 shots in the
These two soon-to-be division rivals went at it hard on both
ends of the ice with chippiness from both sides. The second period
ended with a scrum in front of the Panthers' net that resulted in
double minor penalties for Florida's Erik Gudbranson and Montreal's
P.K. Subban for slashing and roughing. Panthers enforcer Krys Barch
also was given a 10-minute game misconduct.
Florida maintained its four-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets,
3-2 winners over Toronto, in the Southeast Division and stayed five
points ahead of the Washington Capitals.
NOTES: With his assist on Fleischmann's tying goal Weiss tied
Olli Jokinen for the most assists all-time in Panthers history with
231. ... Fleischmann has scored three goals in two meetings with the
Canadiens this season. . Florida finished the month of December
5-2-1 on home ice. ... The crowd of 20,098 was the third largest
crowd of the season. ... The Canadiens continue to struggle on the
road as they fell to 9-11-1 away from home and are now 0-2 against
the Panthers this season.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 31: Mathieu Darche #52 of the Montreal Canadiens skates prior to the game against the...