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Panthers-Canadiens Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Florida Panthers vs. Montréal Canadiens

A major trade seemed to light a fire under the Florida Panthers.

While a separate, less-prominent deal by the Montreal Canadiens likely won't have the same effect, coach Jacques Martin's team could surely use a spark.

The Panthers begin a three-game road trip Monday against the Canadiens, who will try to avoid losing six straight for the first time in more than four years.

Hoping to shake things up after suffering 3-0 defeats to Washington and Buffalo earlier last week, Florida (4-3-0) sent left wing David Booth, center Steve Reinprecht and a third-round pick in the 2013 draft to Vancouver on Saturday in exchange for veteran forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.

"A lot of things come into play," general manager Dale Tallon said.

"We're in the performance business and I was not happy with our team's performance, especially the (previous) two games. I wasn't going to sit still and let this fester and I want to send a message and I want to make changes and I want to get better. We felt as far as an organization we get two top NHL players."

The move seemed to give the Panthers a mental boost before the new acquisitions even arrived. They defeated the New York Islanders 4-2 hours after announcing the trade behind a goal and two assists from center Shawn Matthias.

Montreal (1-4-2) is coming off its fifth straight defeat after blowing three one-goal leads during Saturday's 5-4 overtime loss to Toronto.

The Canadiens, who haven't dropped six in a row since Feb. 6-17, 2007, have converted just one of 20 power-play opportunities during their 0-3-2 skid.

"The leadership group in this team is extremely important. It's crucial to have their feedback in this situation, and with guys like (Brian) Gionta, (Hal) Gill, (Travis) Moen and (Josh) Gorges, you really couldn't ask for a more invested group of individuals," Martin told the team's official website. "They're really taking things to heart, and they're really disappointed after a tough loss like last night's. Now, we have a day to rebuild ourselves, refocus, and make sure that we come back Monday night with an even stronger performance and better execution."

Montreal made a minor move Sunday, acquiring center Petteri Nokelainen and minor league defenseman Garrett Stafford from Phoenix in exchange for center Brock Trotter and a seventh-round pick in 2012.

That trade isn't likely to provide any immediate relief for a Canadiens team stumbling on both sides of the ice. Montreal is tied for 25th in the NHL with a 3.29 goals-against average and has been held to either one goal or none four times in seven games.

Carey Price, who has started every game this season, is also struggling, posting a 3.13 goals-against average. The five-game skid is his longest winless drought since going 0-6-0 over seven games - six starts - Oct. 7-Nov. 3, 2009.

Price made 30 saves in a 4-0 road win over the Panthers on March 3. That contest was the Canadiens' third consecutive victory in this series. They've also won 11 of the last 14 meetings.

Florida goaltender Jose Theodore, originally drafted by Montreal in 1994, is 1-1-1 with a 5.56 GAA over his last three games versus his former team.

Theodore stopped eight of 10 shots in the first two periods against the Islanders before he was replaced by Jacob Markstrom, who turned away all 18 shots in the third to earn his first career win.

"As a backup goalie, that's your job - to always be prepared if something happens," Markstrom said.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 27 '12 FLA 3 at MTL 2 - SO W. Wolski
Feb 26 '12 MTL 2 at FLA 4 S. Weiss
Dec 31 '11 MTL 2 at FLA 3 T. Fleischmann
Oct 24 '11 FLA 2 at MTL 1 S. Upshall
K. Versteeg8459+2431
S. Weiss8347+1211
B. Campbell8077-3000
T. Fleischmann8235+3410
D. Kulikov8044+1400
T. Kopecky8123-4410
S. Matthias7123+1200
E. Jovanovski7123-3210
M. Weaver8033+5000
J. Garrison8202+0620
M. Bradley8101+01000
M. Goc8101-1200
S. Upshall8101-32101
S. Bergenheim4101+0400
T. Kennedy3101-1001
J. Skille8011-2400
D. Booth6011-6200
E. Gudbranson8000-42400
R. Carter7000-1600
M. Sturm7000-5200
B. Kearns2000+0000
K. Ellerby2000-2000
M. Santorelli1000+0000
J. Theodore63-2-0151732.62.913
J. Markstrom32-1-03901.29.967
M. Pacioretty8246-1400
T. Moen8415+3700
A. Kostitsyn8235+0400
T. Plekanec8235-2211
B. Gionta8134-2800
Y. Weber8123+4610
R. Diaz8123+0600
D. Desharnais8123-3200
J. Gorges8033+1400
M. Cammalleri5202-3000
E. Cole8112-4410
P. Subban8022-6800
L. Eller6022+3000
M. Darche8101-1200
H. Gill8011-2400
S. Gomez6011-1400
P. Nokelainen6011-1000
A. Engqvist7000+1200
A. Emelin6000-2200
A. Palushaj4000+0000
J. Spacek3000+0000
C. Campoli1000+0000
M. Blunden1000+0000
C. Price71-4-2221813.13.878
P. Budaj10-1-02312.03.935