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Montréal
Canadiens
47-25-10
Florida
Panthers
38-35-9
OT
37 SOG
36 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
MTL
FLA
game recap

Panthers Grab Point In OT Loss

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

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Panthers Grab Point In OT Loss
Montréal Canadiens 2, Florida Panthers 1
Canadiens goalie Carey Price, blocks a shot by Panthers' Brett McClean (53) in the first period of a hockey game as Andrei Markov, defends in Sunrise, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -A string of rosary beads swayed in Richard Zednik's locker. Fans lined up to sign an oversized get-well card for the injured Florida Panthers forward, and teammates skated with him in mind.

It was a feel-good night for the Panthers.

That is, until Alexei Kovalev spoiled the ending.

Kovalev's shot from the right circle 1:43 into overtime gave the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 victory over Florida on Wednesday night, a power-play goal that left the Panthers steaming about the call they said decided the game.

"Make your own judgment," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said.

With Jassen Cullimore - who helped Zednik off the ice after the forward's neck was sliced by teammate Olli Jokinen's skate in Buffalo on Sunday - in the penalty box for hooking, the Canadiens' top-rated power play broke through.

"The refs are human and they make mistakes," Cullimore said. "And that's the way it goes."

Game Highlights
Starting Lineups
 Panthers    Canadiens
 McLean
C
 Koivu
 Peltonen
LW
 S. Kastsitsyn
 Jokinen
RW
 Higgins
 Salei
D
 Komisarek
 Cullimore
D
 Markov
 Vokoun
G
 Price
Post-Game Video
 Jacques Martin
  Steve Montador
  David Booth
  Jassen Cullimore
PhotoGallery
 Panthers vs Canadiens
Quote of the Game
"The refs are human and they make mistakes. And that's the way it goes."
-Defenseman
Jassen Cullimore
Stat of the Game
The Panthers power play unit (only goal of game) remains hot as they have scored at least one power play goal in six of the last seven games. They have 10 extra man tallies in that span.
3 Stars
Presented by Szrio Jewelry
1. Alex Kovalev
2. Carey Price
3. Tomas Vokoun
Steve Montador scored his fifth goal of the season in the first period for Florida. Christopher Higgins knotted the game with 7:26 left with his 18th of the season for Montreal.

Florida was flat at the start of overtime, and paid the price.

Higgins had two chances to win it from relatively close range in the first 17 seconds of the extra session, and Montreal eventually cashed in with the man advantage, with Kovalev getting assists from Saku Koivu and Bryan Smolinski.

"It was really important we got the win tonight," said Montreal goaltender Carey Price, who stopped 35 shots. "We haven't been playing as well as we'd like to. It was definitely a step in the right direction."

Tomas Vokoun also made 35 saves for the Panthers, whose thoughts in recent days have been dominated by Zednik's injury.

And reminders of Zednik were everywhere.

A blood drive - a nod to Zednik needing five units of blood at Buffalo General Hospital - took place outside the building, and the team ended its pregame ceremonies with a brief video tribute in the injured forward's honor.

"I think we responded well," said Jokinen, who spoke with Zednik earlier Wednesday. "We played hard. We just didn't find a way to score.

"Zed's spirit is still here," Jokinen added. "And we're going to do all we can for him and his family."

Doctors believe Zednik could be back in South Florida by the weekend, and on Wednesday, Zednik's wife released a statement thanking countless people for their support.

"Richard continues to improve and we are encouraged each day," Jessica Zednik said. "We thank you for respecting our privacy and would ask everyone to continue to keep Richard in their thoughts over the next few days."

Not only were the Panthers - who scored 28 goals in their previous six games - playing without Zednik, their lines were further juggled because Stephen Weiss missed the game with the flu. Weiss and Zednik are both among Florida's top five scorers, combining for 25 goals and 34 assists this season.

Montador did his part to pick up the slack at 12:04 of the first, as a Florida power play was expiring.

From the high slot, he dumped the puck toward the net, probably looking more for a deflection than anything else. He got one - just not from a teammate, but from Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, who brushed the puck and redirected it past Price for the game's first goal.

The way Vokoun was playing, it looked like one goal might be enough. He made some sensational saves, none better than when he stoned Koivu on a short-handed breakaway with 5 1/2 minutes left in the second period.

But with the help of some lucky bounces, the Canadiens solved Vokoun with 7:26 left.

Off a faceoff from the right circle, the puck bounced oddly and diagonally across the slot, as Vokoun tried to knock it away. He couldn't reach it, and Higgins stuck his stick past Florida defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and deflected the puck into the net, tying the game at 1.

"We were just trying to find a way to beat Vokoun and we did it with a harmless play," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said.

Notes: Florida is the only team to have a winning all-time record in regular-season games against Montreal. ... There were no stoppages of play in the final 5:19 of the second period. ... The Panthers have a power-play goal in six of their past seven games.

scoring summary
1st Period
12:04
FLA
PPG - Steve Montador (5) ASST: Kamil Kreps (12), Ruslan Salei (19)
1 - 0 FLA
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
12:34
MTL
Chris Higgins (18) ASST: Saku Koivu (30)
1 - 1 Tie
OT Period
01:43
MTL
PPG - Alex Kovalev (26) ASST: Saku Koivu (31), Bryan Smolinski (13)
2 - 1 MTL
penalty summary
1st Period
10:10
MTL
Guillaume Latendresse  Tripping against  Cory Murphy
12:56
FLA
Jay Bouwmeester  Tripping against  Andrei Kostitsyn
2nd Period
05:48
FLA
Branislav Mezei  Roughing against  Tom Kostopoulos
05:48
MTL
Tom Kostopoulos  Roughing against  Branislav Mezei
08:51
FLA
Rob Globke  Hooking against  Josh Gorges
12:43
MTL
Tom Kostopoulos  Interference against  Olli Jokinen
14:41
MTL
Josh Gorges  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
3rd Period
02:00
FLA
Jay Bouwmeester  Hi-sticking against  Saku Koivu
04:21
FLA
Olli Jokinen  Hi-sticking against  Chris Higgins
05:52
MTL
Tomas Plekanec  Face-off violation
10:20
FLA
Tanner Glass  Holding against  Mike Komisarek
16:21
MTL
Saku Koivu  Hooking against  David Booth
OT Period
00:33
FLA
Jassen Cullimore  Hooking against  Saku Koivu
goalie stats
Carey Price
Carey Price
SA: 36TOI: 61:34
Saves: 35EV: 24 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 11 - 12
SV%: .972SH: 0 - 0
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 37TOI: 61:06
Saves: 35EV: 22 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 12 - 13
SV%: .946SH: 1 - 1
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