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Montreal comes home to an electrifying Bell Center after a successful 4-game west coast swing to face the Roberto Luongos. Richard Zednik looks to continue his goal-and-assist pace from the road trip, and Alex Kovalev will suit up for his first home game with the CH tonight. Also returning to the Bell Center for the first time with a new team will be outcast forward Donald Audette, who has continued his scoring slump from his days in Montreal. Luongo between the pipes for the Panthers, Garon protecting the mesh for the Canadiens.


Tonight’s Lines:

Perrault – Koivu – Zednik
Kovalev – Ribeiro – Ryder
Begin – Dowd – Ward
Langdon – Juneau – Dackell

Boullion – Brisebois
Markov – Rivet
Komisarek – Quinal


Florida Goal (1-0 FLO): Bouwmeester gains the offensive zone on a two on one with Jokinen. The youngster fakes the shot and passes it through the backchecking defenceman to Olli “You Gotta Be Jokenin’ ” Jokinen, who shoots the rolling puck glove side on a sliding Garon. Jokenin’s 20th of the year from Bouwmeester and Hagman at the 8:32 mark of the 1st. 4on4 goal.


First Period Wrap-up: Not a bad period, but the shots were pretty low. Ribeiro put on an offensive clinic during a rush, and the Langer had a pretty good hit on the forecheck thanks to Dackell holding the player up. Not a bad period, but not a great one. Garon would love to have that goal back. Rolling puck shot just inside the post. Shots in the 1st were 4-8 in favour of Florida.


Montreal Goal (1-1): After some incredibly strong pressure on the PP from Montreal, the puck goes to the front of the net. Luongo tries punching the puck out with his stick, but it goes to Koivu. Saks drags the puck to get a better angle on the yawning cage but loses it. Boullion walks in from the point on a good read and rips a shot through the five-hole and in. Boullion’s 2nd on the season from Koivu at the 7:18 mark of the 2nd period.


Second Period Wrap-up: Another period gone, another period outshot almost 2:1. Habs had some great pressure on the Panths 5on5 just after a powerplay which resulted in the goal. Garon was lucky, had a deflected shot go off the post. Habs need to pick it up and get some rubber on big Roberto if they want to come away with the duece. Shots in the 2nd were 17-11 in favour of the Panthers.


Florida Goal (2-1 FLO): Bad coverage allows Florida to cycle behind the net. Both defenceman seem concerned with the player behind the net, and neither pick up Olson in front of the net. The puck comes out and Olson fires it into the mesh. Olson’s first NHL goal from Donald Audette at the 1:40 mark of the third.


Montreal Goal (2-2): Great effort by Zednik on the play. He charges into the zone alone, fights off a defender all the way to the net, then puts a weak puck on net, which is deflected into the slot. Perreault comes in and gingerly deposits the puck into the mesh like it’s nobody’s business. Perreault’s 13th of the season from Zednik and Brisebois at the 3:47 mark of the third period.


Florida Goal (OT Winner): Couple of bad calls by the refs lead to this. Garon leaves the puck and a rush ensues. Begin gets a great chance but Luongo seems to cover the puck and Bouwmeester cross-checks him out of the way. Luongo plays the puck late and Florida takes the puck down. Jokinen comes on the outside, Brisebois tries to sweep the puck away but just misses. Olli takes the shot and beats Garon. Jokinen’s 21st of the season from Cullen and Luongo at the 1:29 mark of the OT period.


Game Wrap-up: We came out very flat again, but seemed to gain momentum from the second Habs goal. Some very poor reffing was apparent at the end of the game, but wether or not it interfered with the outcome is debateable. Points in 9 of our last ten games, so it’s not all bad.


Three Stars:

  1. Olli Jokinen
  2. Saku Koivu
  3. Steve Begin


Shots on Goal:

   Montreal 34 – Florida 32


Montreal’s Outstanding Player of the Game: Saku Koivu. This guy played with his heart on his shoulder today, and created the first goal on his own. He seemed to fire his team up, and it’s no coincidence that his line scored both goals tonight.


Montreal’s Hoover© Player of the Game: Andrei Markov. Not a great game for the Russian blueliner. He had his moments, but was a -2 for the night, and was directly responsible for the second Florida goal, as he should have picked up Olson.