Habs, Panthers battle for playoff spot
CANADIENS (25-23-5) at PANTHERS (22-21-9)
: Montreal 4-4-2; Florida 5-3-2.
: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. They last met on Jan. 7, when Jaroslav Halak stopped all 38 shots he faced in Montreal's 2-0 victory at the Bell Centre.
: Both teams are in a dogfight for a playoff spot and are separated by just two points in the Eastern Conference standings. Only three points separate sixth place from 13th place.
: Montreal has earned points in three consecutive games and is coming off a highly impressive 6-0 win against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre on Saturday night. Mike Cammalleri had four points for the Habs, who now begin a three-game road trip.
"It's great to get goal support like tonight," said Halak, who made 32 saves for his seventh career shutout. "That second period was amazing. We scored four in seven minutes and we didn't give them many chances."
: After earning a well-deserved point in a 2-1 shootout loss on Long Island on Thursday night, Florida followed that up with a 2-0 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bank Atlantic Center on Saturday. Tomas Vokoun
made 39 saves for his second shutout in four games.
"We've got (David) Booth and (Nathan) Horton out of the lineup, it's our seventh game in 10 nights. It's a gutsy win," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "Our goaltender was great early, gave us a chance to get out of the first period. Considering the circumstances, I thought it was a real gutsy effort."
: Cammalleri has six goals in as many games and leads the Canadiens with 26 tallies, while Brian Gionta has a six-game points streak. … Vokoun has three shutouts in his last eight games for the Panthers.
: Montreal defenseman Paul Mara is questionable after leaving Friday night's game against New Jersey with an undisclosed injury. Andrei Kostitsyn (lower body) is out indefinitely. … For the Panthers, Horton is out 4-6 weeks with a leg injury, while Booth hasn't played since Oct. 24 due to a concussion. He has resumed skating.
: Horton was the third player on the Panthers to be injured by his own teammate this season. On Saturday, center Steven Reinprecht
nearly became the fourth when he was hit by a shot from defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Reinprecht is expected to play Tuesday.
In November, goalie Tomas Vokoun
suffered a lacerated ear when he was accidentally drilled in the head by the stick of Keith Ballard. Gregory Campbell also suffered a concussion when he and defenseman Bryan Allen
: "If we could get on a run and ride this wave it would go a long way in helping us get some breathing room in this playoff race. That's easier said than done, though. A few teams have done that well this season, but not many. We're talking, what, New Jersey, San Jose, Chicago? This is a tough and competitive League, especially this year for some reason when a bunch of teams in the East are up and down." -- Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri