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Panthers solid effort can't solve Halak as Canadiens grab 2-0 victory


Final - 1.7.2010 1 2 3 Total
Florida Panthers 0 0 0 0
Montreal Canadiens 1 0 1 2

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I'll say this: it was entertaining.

Florida-Montreal games are just short of guaranteed to be playoff quality, whether the goals scored total 11 (as it did a week ago) or 2.

The Cats obviously gained something from Thursday's practice which focused on work along the boards: it showed. Unfortunately, the game was lost on a Benoit Pouliot goal with 12 seconds remaining in the first period. And there it remained until Brian Gionta banged home an empty-netter with 36 seconds left in the game. Scott Gomez ended the night with two assists.

Tomas Vokoun and Jaroslav Halak each faced 38 shots. Each stood on his head. But Florida now has a legitimate rival in the Habs' backup.

Seriously: this was a fun game to watch, but as has been the norm around these parts lately, the Cats simply couldn't crack the opposition. They kept the heat on until that final goal, but didn't receive the obligatory "bounces". And as we're all aware, good teams generate the bounces.

How will the lines be mixed for the next game, me wonders?

Kudos to the Habs for a strong showing after the first frame.

Notes: Dennis Seidenberg led all of Florida in TOI (23:35, -2); second only to Montreal's Andrei Markov in the game (24:21, 1 assist). Four Panthers finished with a minus-2: Seidenberg, Nathan HortonJordan Leopold, and Cory Stillman. Horton, despite the score (and plus/minus), had another tremendous night, logging 23:01 with 6 SOG; he's looked increasingly confident in recent weeks and has been justly rewarded. Dominic Moore as well had a strong showing. For Montreal, Mike Cammalleri had a game-high 9 SOG (0 points).