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Big Win for JM's Panthers


Jacques Martin, or, JM the former GM, didn't look very happy walking out of the visiting coaches locker room Tuesday night.

Nor should he.

Without a doubt, the Canadiens can blame their coach for Tuesday’s loss to the Panthers.

Martin, the first-year coach of Montreal, not only traded for goalie Tomas Vokoun while working as general manager of the Panthers, but brought in Shawn Matthias and Michal Repik too.

Those three were instrumental in Florida’s 2-1 win over the Canadiens at BankAtlantic Center.

Martin may have left the Panthers over the summer, but he didn’t take their players when he headed north.

After Tuesday, he probably would love to have had that option.

Matthias scored both of Florida’s goals and Vokoun made 16 saves for his fourth straight win at home. Montreal, up 1-0 after two periods, had been 16-0 when leading going into the third this season.

“Jacques made a lot of decisions for this organization, brought me and a lot of guys in here,’’ Matthias said. “It’s always good to beat your old coach or GM. It’s a nice feeling. You never like to lose to people you played with.’’

The Panthers have struggled mightily against the Canadiens of late, losing three of four to Montreal last season and the first two meetings of this one.

Those three losses last season were costly as well, as Montreal and the Panthers had identical records and tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Head-to-head record was the tiebreaker that cost the Panthers a spot in the postseason.

These two teams are jockeying for a playoff slot this season as well, with the Panthers moving into a four-way tie for sixth place in the east with the win. Montreal, the Rangers and Philadelphia are also there.

Yes it’s very early, but the Panthers can take some satisfaction of being in this hunt.

“It’s an important two points,’’ said coach Pete DeBoer, hired by Martin in 2008. “There’s no doubt this is motivation. The thing was, jump into eighth or drop to 13 or 14. It’s so tight. No doubt it’s a mental up when you walk into the locker room and you see you’re above that line and in the playoffs.’’

Tuesday, Matthias scored the Panthers first penalty shot since Radek Dvorak scored one off Montreal last January. That penalty shot – he broke free of the Montreal defense and was pulled down by Josh Gorges – came at 3:01 of the third and tied the score at 1.

A few minutes later, Matthias scored again, banging in Repik’s rebound through with 7:01 left.

Montreal led 1-0 when Tomas Plekanec scored on the Canadiens’ lone power play of the game, 1:13 left in the second. Aside from that goal, Montreal didn’t do much of anything all night.

“It was a gutsy effort,’’ said captain Bryan McCabe -- another JM import not called a Lexus.

“Vokoun has given us a chance to win every night and this was no different. We’re getting different guys to step up. Tonight it was Matthias. Hopefully that continues.’’

-- Vokoun set the franchise record for longest home shutout streak at 202:16. Roberto Luongo held the record of 169:35 set in 2003.




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the hundred or so at pantherland serenading the embarrassd hab fans at games end, was worth the price of admission....

I added to the choir as I walked by. Very enjoyable game to stick it to the Habs fans.

Good artic le. I think JM the GM has a very good hockey mind and some of the moves he made may start to bear fruit for us in his absence.

Interesting article on Jay Bo by puck daddy. How ironic would it be if the Panthers (now in 8th) would get in and Calgary (now in 9th) would have Jokinen and Bo watching the Panthers in the playoffs?


I want to thank JM the GM for having his team play not to lose last night.

It reminds me of JM the Coach when the panthers would sit back and wait for something to happen.

There was no forecheck by Montreal all night, glad he is now Montreal's problem and not ours.

Another great effort, keep up the work boys, I'll take aggressive team over passive team every day of the week

TSN reporting Jammal Myers might be on the trading block. Good skating, middle weight tough guy. If he can't add toughness while actually seeing some icetime, I don't know who can?? (No, we're not getting Chris Neil) Myers for a 5th. Pull it off Sexton!

I find myself uncomfortably rooting for the Lightning and the 'canes tonight. Here's why: The Eastern race is so close that slots 6-12 are separated by one point. There are four teams at 55, three more at 54. If the Rangers lose tonight, the Panthers could actually move up to 7th due to having superior points percentage (Montreal would have to lose in regulation, too).

How often is it that a team improves on their night off? I'll go right back to my hatred of Carolina and TB at midnight.

The next month or so will just be about staying afloat. Unless 1 or 2 teams make a serious run, it looks like it's going to be just as tight heading into April. 6-1-2 is a great run, but every time it feels like the Panthers are figuring things out and they put together a good stretch, they back it up with a 2-8-1 mark or something, and a run like that and it might be too late. Just stay afloat.

Just to say I told you so: Montreal and NYR both lost last night and the Panthers are now in 7th. They still have the same number of points but hey, up is up. Now if they can keep winning they can stay there.

MNhockeyguy - Jammal Myers couldn't make the Amerks. Panthers have better players playing in Rochester... Panthers didn't play last night and moved up in the standings!

it's great that we are 7th, but we must find a way to to beat the capitals.

I would love to see the team go out and make a move for someone to add a boost to this stretch run. Maybe someone to take of the 2nd line center spot from Rhino, who has been non-existent in January. Every year we settle for the "guys need to step up down the stretch" routine and we end up just missing the playoffs. Let's go for it! Don't just settle for 7 or 8th, let's make a run at getting into the top 6 so we don't face Washington in the 1st round and get swept.

I believe Jamal Mayers could help a team, but I don't think it would help this Panther team that much--except as a depth 3rd and 4th line forward.... I'd be all for it if PDB would sit Kreps, but he seems to keep him around for whatever reason....

Therefore Mayers would have to replace someone like Campbell, Tarnasky, McArdle... I doubt that would happen, but if they were to clean house in the off-season, I would sign Mayers in the off-season for a cheap 1 or 2 year contract.... He seems to stick up for his teammates and do a solid job creating energy as a 3rd or more likely 4th liner...

As this team needs all the depth scoring it can get, I wouldn't mind trying Stempniak or Ponikarovsky for a 4th rounder or something like that... At the same time, if they could off-load any of the dead-weight contracts of Allen, Olesz, Kreps,Ballard, Stillman, McCabe, I'd be all for it...

PDeB should sit Kreps and let Matthias get more minutes. The time is now!

Slapshot- even if Randy wanted to trade those "dead weight" contracts, he couldn't, based on their length and dollar amount. IMO- Ballard and McCabe are doing just fine!

yeh? wht the hell!?! how can you call mccabe and ballard dead-weight??do you even watch the panthers!?

Atlanta coming back on Philly-dont get your hopes up about playoffs-no way we beat Washington-we couldnt even win when they had AHL goalie letting in 2 soft goals=We are due to lose Friday then lose another 2 of next 4-face reality-this is a 500 hockey team with minimal talent.Losing Horton was the death rattle like last year when he and McCabe got hurt.This team has never won 4 in a row in the last 5 years!

U r right litespeed not even worth you watching or enjoying or posting...

Ok maybe it was a bit of an exagerration calling Ballard and McCabe dead-weight, but the point being you would like more bang for your buck there.... Ballard at about $4-4.2 million/yr is overpaying for a guy that's a 3rd or 4th Dman on most teams... He's a good guy, but still too much...

McCabe was a good trade for JM as he made the most by off-loading VanRyn's $3-3.3 million contract... McCabe's later in his career now, and also should not be paid like a Top 2 Dman.. So if they are to resign him, it should be in the $2..5- 3 range, not anywhere near $5 million..

The main point I'd look at in a player is how much value he'd have on other teams and where he'd play in their line-up... With the limited talent-base on the Panthers, many of these guys would play at least one-line lower on other more talented teams, or maybe not at all(Kreps,Allen, Olesz)....

season ticket holder - i guess all your years of watching panthers' games didn't teach you what a 1-4 trap is. that's what the panthers were throwing at the habs most of the night. funny how fickle and dumb most fans are - pete uses the trap and nobody notices because he came in here with all the hubbub about being aggressive.

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