NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Florida |
(Thursday, November 16th)
Final Score: Florida 5, Montreal 1
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Olli Jokinen tallied a hat trick on a season-
high eight shots to lead the Florida Panthers over Montreal, 5-1, at the
Jokinen scored twice in the second period and added his final goal near the
end of the game. Nathan Horton assisted on all three scores.
Chris Gratton and Jay Bouwmeester also netted goals for the Panthers, who won
for the first time in five games. On Monday, Florida dropped a 4-1 tilt to the
Ed Belfour was solid between the pipes, stopping 27 shots. The netminder has
been victorious in his last five starts against the Canadiens, dating back to
last season when he suited up with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"Usually when you do a lot of good things, eventually you're going to
get wins," said Florida head coach Jacques Martin. "We got a couple of big
saves from Eddie (Belfour) at key times in the hockey game. When we had some
break-downs he shut the door and it gave us a second wind."
Tomas Plekanec notched the lone tally for the Canadiens, who were coming off
back-to-back wins, including Wednesday's 3-1 decision in Tampa. The short-
lived streak had been sparked by a healthy power play, as the team converted
on 5 of 12 chances in those two contests. They finished 0-for-2 on the man
advantage against Florida.
David Aebischer allowed four goals on 24 shots before being pulled after the
second period. Cristobal Huet made 14 saves in the mop-up role.
A turnover by Montreal put the team in an early 1-0 hole. The Habs won
the faceoff in the defensive zone, but Craig Rivet couldn't maintain
possession. Martin Gelinas then scooped up the disc along the boards and
dished to Gratton, who broke loose in the slot thanks to some strong
forechecking. The center ripped the puck top-shelf at 9:16 to tally his fifth
of the year.
Sensational goaltending by Belfour preserved that lead. The netminder turned
aside five consecutive shots during Montreal's power play late in the first
period, including an 18-foot wrister by Radek Bonk that was snared to stop the
Jokinen doubled the Panthers' advantage with a snap shot just 37 seconds into
the second stanza. The center corralled the loose puck off the draw and laced
through several defenders before rifling the shot, which beat Aebischer
through the five-hole.
The Habs finally scratched the scoreboard with 7:34 left, as Plekanec tipped
in a shot from Andrei Markov off the point. The puck deflected off the stick
of a Panthers' defenseman before sliding to Plekanec, who was camped just in
front of the crease.
Florida tallied the next two goals to take a 4-1 lead into the final period.
First, Jokinen notched his second of the game with 3:07 remaining in the
second, handling a bouncing pass from Horton before freezing the puck
and beating the netminder on a wrist shot.
Bouwmeester followed with a power play goal. Belfour was credited with an
assist on the score, dishing to Jozef Stumpel, who passed off to Bouwmeester.
The defenseman gained the blue line and froze two defenders before launching a
slap shot that hit the twine with 25 ticks left before intermission.
Jokinen completed the hat trick on a tip-in goal with 32 seconds remaining in
"We were just trying to play smart," said Jokinen. "We were up by three
goals, 4-1. There's no reason to take any chances. You know if you play
tight defense you're going to get a couple of chances, like we did. But
(my) third goal didn't really matter."
The game marked the first of four meetings between the teams this
season...Montreal won three of four games last year, but the Panthers are 4-1
in the last five meetings in Florida...Both teams return to action on
Saturday. Florida will host the New York Islanders, while the
Canadiens battle the Atlanta Thrashers.
11/17 00:01:47 ET