For the fourth time this season the Canadiens and Panthers will battle for two crucial points the eastern conference playoff race. Entering this game both Florida and Montreal are soaring high after wins against Tampa Bay and the Islanders respectfully. The Panthers win was a record setting night for the fact that the Panthers pumped in eight goals which is a franchise record for most goal in a road contest. While the Canadiens did not set any franchise records they did splurge for five goals themselves en route to a 5-3 victory.
In all three previous meetings this season a single goal has been the difference with the home team winning all three games. In both Canadiens victories the Habs held early leads but squandered them forcing the game to overtime forcing Michael Ryder and Saku Koivu to provide some late game heroics. In the Panthers sole victory Joe Nieuwendyk scored both Panthers goals in a two to one victory.
This game is quite crucial for both teams but this may be the breaking point for the Florida Panthers, a win tonight would bolster their club to sit only six points out of a playoff spot while a loss would cause them to fall ten points out thus deteriorating their playoff aspirations to next to nothing. The Canadiens on the other hand must execute with a killer instinct mentality a win tonight would move them to within four points of 6th place while holding a game at hand on both New Jersey and Tampa Bay.
1. The Habs have lost three straight games in Florida being outscored 8-4 in those games.
2. Saku Koivu has played the Panthers well in his career scoring 27 points in 25 games.
3. Cristobal Huet has never played the Florida Panthers.