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TWO AND OUT: Canadiens Hand Panthers Second Straight Loss with 4-1 Win


TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

MONTREAL -- Rare was the time last season when the Panthers followed up one clunker of a game with another.

No, one reason the Panthers broke their NHL-record playoff drought was their ability to bounce back from defeat and pick up points after a loss.

On Tuesday, Florida simply got bounced.

The Bell Center was rocking like it rarely did last season as the Canadiens won their first game of the season by rolling the Panthers 4-1. The Panthers won all four against the Canadiens last year as the storied franchise finished last in the conference.

Florida was shutout 4-0 in Ottawa on Monday night and fell behind early once again in Montreal.

"This isn't last year. This is a new year,'' Stephen Weiss said. "We can't look at last year and say 'we did this, we did that.' This is a new hockey club and we need to build our own identity and figure out what we need to do to be successful with the players we have in this room.''

The Panthers, 1-0 on home ice after beating Carolina 5-1 in the season opener, plays host to Ottawa on Thursday and the reeling Flyers on Saturday as it tries to get on track in a truncated season.

Last year, the Panthers only lost consecutive games in regulation -- getting no points -- four times. With just 45 games to go, the Panthers can't afford to not get points in too many games.

"We wanted to get some points out of the trip but sometimes you don't always get what you want,'' Weiss said. "We just need to go home, regroup and recover.''

The Panthers opened Tuesday's game much like they played most of Monday's as Montreal dominated puck possession for a good portion of the first period.

Goalie Scott Clemmensen, who made 29 saves, gave up his first goal 3:26 in to Tomas Plekanec.

Later, Montreal scored off a two-man advantage with Brian Campbell and Weiss in the box as Andrei Markov scored offf a long-range slapper.

The Panthers cut the deficit to one in the second period when Tomas Kopecky whipped a wrister from the right circle on Florida's third power play of the night.

Kopecky's goal, Florida's first since Alex Kovalev scored early in the second period of Saturday's win over Carolina, gave the Panthers some short-lived momentum as Montreal scored four minutes later.

With 5:35 left in the second, Alex Galchenyuk made it a 4-1 game as he camped in front of the net and deflected a shot from Brandon Prust. The puck clipped Galchenyuk's stick and squirted over Clemmensen's shoulder and made a home in the back of the net.

Florida had a long power play chance early in the third when Tomas Fleischmann took a punch from Ryan White that earned him an ejection. Fleischmann was called for boarding Josh Gorges and took an unsportsmanlike call as scraps broke out around the ice.

Coach Kevin Dineen took umbrage at Fleischmann -- not known as a physical nor dirty player -- taking a cheap shot from White.

"It was a play when a guy sees who he's going to jump and he took advantage,'' Dineen said. "That's not a very brave play.''

Despite having a five-minute power play -- including 96 seconds in which Florida had a two-man advantage -- the Panthers did next to nothing and went three-plus minutes without registering a single shot.

"That was a sign of how our jump was all night,'' said Scottie Upshall, who had the lone shots of that power play. "We had flashes of energy, drive and battle. We're facing some adversity right off the bat. This was a rebound game for us. We have to start better.''


Drew Shore is the latest highly-touted Florida prospect to make it to the show as the 21-year-old forward made his NHL debut Tuesday.

Shore, a three-year standout at the University of Denver, was summoned from AHL San Antonio late Sunday night and joined the team Monday in Ottawa. Shore thought he was going to play against the Senators but instead sat.

The extra time gave parents David and Sarah time to fly into Montreal to witness the milestone moment. Shore was actually picked by the Panthers in the second round of the 2009 draft by then-GM Randy Sexton in Montreal.

"Ever since you are little and you're shooting pucks, you think about playing in the NHL,'' said Shore, who signed with Florida and spent the end of last season with San Antonio.

-- Captain Ed Jovanovski didn't play Tuesday for rest as Florida played its third game in four nights.

Mike Santorelli was scratched in favor of Shore and Tyson Strachan sat as Mike Caruso -- who made his NHL debut Saturday -- played in his second game. Dineen said Caruso broke his arm during Tuesday's game.