NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Florida
(Friday, December 28th)
Final Score: Montreal 5, Florida 1
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Christopher Higgins had a goal and two assists and Cristobal Huet made 40 saves to lead Montreal over Florida, 5-1, at BankAtlantic Center.
Mark Streit added a goal and an assist for Montreal, which has won two straight and improved to 3-1-1 on its current season-long six-game road trip. Guillaume Latendresse, Michael Ryder and Tom Kostopoulos also scored for the Canadiens, who have scored five goals in each of their last three wins.
Olli Jokinen scored the lone goal for the Panthers, who outshot Montreal by nearly a 2-to-1 margin (41-to-21), but the poor play of Tomas Vokoun in net cost Florida a chance at winning its fifth game in six outings.
Vokoun started in net for Florida and allowed goals on the first three shots by the Canadiens. He was pulled for the remainder of the first period, but returned in the second only to allow one more goal on six shots. Craig Anderson took over from there and ended with nine saves on 10 shots in the third and 12 saves in all, having also played the first period.
"I think we played pretty well but this is not figure skating," said Vokoun. "You don't get points for looking good. It's about winning and when you start the game the way we started, it's tough to win. So, we can't pat ourselves on the back because we played better after (giving up 3 goals on three shots in first five minutes of the game)."
The Canadiens wasted little time taking control of this game.
Just 1:42 into the game Latendresse put Montreal in the lead, scoring his 11th goal of the season off assists from Roman Hamrlik and Saku Koivu.
Three minutes, eight seconds later, Ryder gave the Canadiens a two- goal lead and only 13 seconds after that Higgins scored for a three-goal advantage.
Ryder worked with Higgins for the breakaway goal and Higgins' tally came on a wrister from the left circle.
"Obviously it's great to have that cushion and to have that (early) lead," said Huet. "We know how big it is in this league to get that first goal."
Kostopoulos added to the lead with a second-period goal, making it 4-0.
Florida finally got on the board in the third when Jokinen scored from the doorstep, breaking up the shutout with 9:39 left, but that was it. Streit scored with 3:03 remaining to restore the four-goal cushion.
Florida ended 0-for-2 on the power play, while Montreal went 1-for-7...The Canadiens ended a four-game slide to the Panthers, winning in Florida for the first time since March 2, 2006...Koivu has a team-high 23 assists for the Canadiens...Jokinen has a seven-game point streak.
12/28 23:11:03 ET