Series (Game 3 of 4)

Florida leads 3-0

Game 1: Saturday, November 29th
Game 2: Friday, December 12th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 10th
Game 4: Thursday, March 11th

Canadiens 1

(28-21-2, 64 pts)

Panthers 2

(19-23-3, 52 pts)

7:30 PM ET, February 10, 2004

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 T
MTL 1 0 01
FLA 0 2 02

V. Kozlov (Panthers - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 40, Save Pct.: .976

J. Theodore (Canadiens - G): Saves: 20, Save Pct.: .909

Montreal (28-20-6-2) at Florida (18-23-11-3) 7:30 pm EST

SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- John Torchetti makes his coaching debut for the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night when they host the Montreal Canadiens at the Office Depot Center.

On Monday, Panthers general manager Rick Dudley named Torchetti coach for the remainder of the season. Dudley had been serving as coach after firing Mike Keenan on November 9. He went

13-15-9-3 in 40 games as coach.

Torchetti had been an assistant since March 6, 2003 after coaching Florida's American Hockey League team in San Antonio to a 30-23-10-2 record last season. The 39-year-old Torchetti, who never played in the NHL, is Florida's fifth coach since 2000. The Panthers have not made the playoffs since 2000, when they were swept by New Jersey in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Torchetti spent two seasons as the associate coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to becoming the team's assistant scouting director in 2001-02. Florida's last five coaches have been victorious in their debuts. The last three, Duane Sutter,

Keenan and Dudley, were behind the bench for shutouts by All-Star Roberto Luongo.

The Panthers are tied with Atlanta for 11th place in the East, nine points behind the New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff spot. Florida halted a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) with Wednesday's 5-4 overtime win against the Phoenix Coyotes in the finale of a three-game road trip.

Olli Jokinen scored his second power-play goal of the game 3:22 into overtime to give Steve Shields his first win since October 30. Shields made 24 saves and improved to 3-3-1. Florida's No. 1 goaltender, Luongo, stopped eight of the nine shots he faced in the third period of Sunday's All-Star Game.

The Canadiens have won three straight and four of their last five contests. Mike Ribeiro and rookie Michael Ryder tallied and Jose Theodore stopped 27 shots as the Canadiens edged the Islanders, 2-1, on Thursday.

Montreal is seventh in the East, five points in front of the Islanders and three points in back of sixth-place Ottawa.

Theodore got the win in the All-Star Game after turning away 10 of 12 shots in the second period. Defenseman Sheldon Souray also played Sunday, the day after he unleashed a 102.2 miles-per-hour slap shot to tie Adrian Aucoin of the New York Islanders for the fastest shot in the skills competition.

The Panthers and Canadiens skated to a 1-1 tie in Montreal on November 29 in the first meeting of the season. Luongo, a

Montreal native, made 29 saves to improve to 3-6-3 lifetime against the Canadiens in Florida's 4-2 victory here on December 12.