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NHL Game Summary - Florida at Montreal

(Tuesday, October 16th)

Final Score: Florida 2, Montreal 1 (SO)

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Jozef Stumpel beat Cristobal Huet with a backhander on Florida's third shootout chance as the Panthers stole a 2-1 victory from the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Outplayed for 58 minutes, Florida drew a man-advantage with 2:14 remaining in the third period thanks to a slashing penalty on Montreal's Mike Komisarek. The Panthers pulled goaltender Tomas Vokoun for a two-man advantage with the empty net, but couldn't capitalize until Nathan Horton beat Huet from the left circle with just 10 seconds remaining.

Following a scoreless overtime period, Montreal's Chris Higgins, Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev were stoned by Vokoun on their chances, and Huet stopped both Ville Peltonen and Horton before allowing Stumpel to beat him glove side.

"Sometimes you're the last guy (in the shootout)," said Stumpel. "And you're hoping nobody's going to score to decide the game. Obviously, it happened tonight. I was coming in on (Huet), and I didn't know what to do. He went down to get it, so I went to my backhand and I tried to stuff it in because there was some space over there, and that was where I put it.

Vokoun finished with 36 saves, keeping Florida alive after falling down a goal in the first three minutes of the game. The Panthers have now won three straight to recover from an 0-3 start to the season.

Montreal had endless opportunities against Vokoun, controlling the tempo throughout and dominating play in their own zone, but was never able to record a second goal. Huet took the tough-luck loss despite stopping 24 shots and shutting Florida out for 59-plus minutes.

Kovalev scored the lone Canadiens goal, but Montreal dropped its second straight decision and has now gone eight consecutive games without beating the Panthers in regulation at home.

Montreal got off to a quick start with a power-play goal at 2:53 in the first. Kovalev, planted to Vokoun's right, found the rebound of a slapshot from the left point by Roman Hamrlik and beat the goaltender through the five hole.

The Habs owned Florida in the shots-on-goal department for most of the second, but Vokoun was solid throughout the period again, and Florida finally showed signs of life with a late flurry of pressure on Huet.

Huet was solid in goal during the final period, as well, but Montreal failed to take advantage of a Horton hooking penatly that gave them a power play at 5:50, and it ultimately came back to hurt them.

Vokoun, meanwhile stopped all six shots on goal during the third, as the Canadiens watched a number of other chances go wide or off the post.

"The team was not disorganized tonight," Kovalev said afterward. "But we knew in the last few minutes they were going to put a lot of pressure on us. We continued to work on the effort and we played a 60-minute game. But we didn't put the game away. We have to focus on all the chances we get and be a little more patient. The chances are there."

Game Notes

Kovalev's first-period goal was the first for the Canadiens against Florida at the Bell Centre since November 15, 2005...Florida was ten seconds from extending a scoreless drought for the season on road power-plays before Horton's tally with 10 seconds left in regulation.

10/16 23:06:19 ET

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