|MTL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|FLA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
Given their recent play away from the Bell Centre, the Montreal Canadiens may wish their road trip could last a little longer.
The Canadiens conclude a four-game road trip when they visit the Florida Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center on Thursday.
Montreal (10-4-3) has won four of its last five road games and is trying for its first three-game road winning streak this season. The Canadiens also improved to 6-2-1 away from home with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
Their back-to-back wins have been sparked by strong play with the man advantage as the Canadiens have converted 5 of 12 opportunities over the last two games. Sheldon Souray had two power-play goals Wednesday while rookie Guillaume Latendresse had the other.
"Look at some of the passes I'm getting," said Souray, who has scored seven of his eight goals this season on the power play. "They're kind of right there for me to tee off, and I'm just able to have a bit more of an easier time to shoot the puck.
"I'm not rushed. It's been really a good group effort."
Saku Koivu has been key to that effort with a team-leading 16 points and will look to extend his points streak to seven games on Thursday. The Canadiens' center has two goals and four assists during his run, but hasn't had a multipoint game since recording two goals and an assist in a season-opening loss to Buffalo.
Koivu had two goals and five assists in three games against the Panthers last season, and eight goals and 20 assists in 26 career contests. He'll look to improve those numbers against a Florida team trying to avoid its fifth straight loss.
The Panthers (6-9-4) opened a three-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday. Florida had a season-high 45 shots, but couldn't solve goaltender Olaf Kolzig.
"We had 45 shots and a lot of chances but the puck just didn't go in tonight," said Olli Jokinen, who leads the team with 10 assists and 16 points. "It's frustrating."
Jokinen is trying to avoid his second five-game stretch without scoring a goal this season.
Panthers goaltender Ed Belfour, second all-time with 460 career wins, was victorious in his last four starts and recorded a 2.93 goals-against average against the Canadiens last season while with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Cristobal Huet, who made 29 saves for Montreal Wednesday to improve to 5-2-2 with a 2.32 GAA this season, recorded a shutout in his only career start against the Panthers, a 1-0 road win on March 2.
Montreal won three of four meetings between the teams in 2005-06, but the Panthers are 3-1 in the last four games in Florida.
|Feb 13 '07||FLA 1 at MTL 0||J. Bouwmeester|
|Dec 29 '06||MTL 1 at FLA 3||N. Horton|
|Nov 28 '06||FLA 0 at MTL 1 - SO||S. Koivu|
|Nov 16 '06||MTL 1 at FLA 5||O. Jokinen|