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(Monday, January 6th)
Final Score: Montreal 2, Florida 1
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian Gionta scored the game-winner with 4:14 left in the second period, as the Montreal Canadiens held off the Florida Panthers, 2-1, on Monday at Bell Centre.
David Desharnais netted Montreal's other goal, while Carey Price turned aside 26 shots for the Canadiens, who improved to 2-0-2 over their last four games.
Sean Bergenheim potted the Panthers' lone goal, while Tim Thomas allowed both goals on 35 shots in the setback, Florida's fifth in its last seven games.
Aleksander Barkov, the second overall pick of the 2013 draft, assisted on Bergenheim's goal to extend his point streak to six games, setting a Florida rookie record for consecutive games with a point.
With the game tied 1-1 late in the second period, Thomas Plekanec picked off a pass behind the Florida net and quickly dished to the left circle, setting up Gionta's wrister that sailed past Thomas' glove for a 2-1 lead at 15:46.
"When you're not scoring goals and you're not getting chances, that's when you have to be taking advantage of those turnovers to score the goal," Gionta said. "Plekanec did a great job of breaking their break."
Price made the lead stand from there, posting 16 saves over the final 20 minutes to keep the Canadiens in front.
"We didn't look good for two periods," Florida head coach Peter Horachek said. "We had chances in the third. We have to play 60 minutes of every game."
Montreal scored on its first official shot of the game, as Desharnais fanned on a shot from the high slot, but quickly recovered the disc and with his back to the net, fired a backhander past Thomas to make it 1-0 at 6:23.
Bergenheim brought the Panthers even with 2:51 left in the first, as he picked up a blocked shot in front and backhanded the disc past Price to tie the game.
Barkov broke Radek Dvorak's rookie record of five straight games with a point set from Nov. 2-9, 1995. The 18-year-old Finn has posted a goal and six assists during his streak ... Florida won the first two meetings between these teams this season ... Both teams finished 0-for-2 on the power play ... Bergenheim has netted six goals in his last six games played.
01/06 23:02:27 ET