Series (Game 4 of 4)

Montreal leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, December 31st
Game 2: Thursday, January 7th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 26th
Game 4: Thursday, March 25th

Panthers 1

(30-32-11, 71 pts)

Canadiens 4

(37-30-8, 82 pts)

Coverage: RDS

7:30 PM ET, March 25, 2010

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
FLA 0 0 11
MTL 2 0 24

J. Halak (Canadiens - G): Saves: 23, Save Pct.: .958

B. Gionta (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Moore (Canadiens - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Panthers-Canadiens Preview


The return of their leading goal-scorer wasn't enough to keep the Montreal Canadiens from extending their losing streak.

With Michael Cammalleri still rounding into shape, the Canadiens will try to avoid dropping four straight for the first time since December when they host the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Montreal (36-30-8) had another lackluster performance in a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo on Wednesday. The Canadiens were blanked by Ottawa in their previous contest after a 3-2 shootout defeat to Toronto on Saturday.

Montreal seemed to be on its way to a victory against the Sabres before allowing two goals in the final two minutes of regulation.

"I'm not happy whatsoever," said Carey Price, who recorded 40 saves. "Not one bit. We got to find a way to get that done. That's a point we need, and we need to find a way to do it. We played hard for 55 minutes and after that we just sat ... and let them come to us."

The Canadiens, whose struggles have come after scoring 22 goals during a six-game winning streak from March 6-16, were outshot 17-8 in the third period and 42-28 in the game despite the return of Cammalleri after missing 17 games with a knee injury.

He hadn't played since Jan. 30, and was held without a point while failing to convert in the shootout.

Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron also returned from 15-game absence due to a knee injury, assisting on Andrei Kostitsyn's second goal of the night.

Cammalleri leads the Canadiens with 26 goals this season and Montreal will be looking to him to get the team into the playoffs for a third straight season. With 80 points, the Canadiens are sixth in the East -- only three points behind fifth-place Ottawa. However, Philadelphia and Boston are one and two points behind, respectively.

Montreal hasn't dropped four straight since going 0-4-1 from Dec. 10-17, and has won three consecutive home games against the Panthers, including 2-0 on Jan. 7.

Florida (30-31-11), meanwhile, is trying to hold onto its slim playoff hopes. The Panthers are 11th in the East -- seven points behind Boston for the final postseason spot -- and have won their last two games following a three-game losing streak.

After topping Tampa Bay on Sunday, the Panthers scored three goals in the third period of a 4-1 win against Toronto on Tuesday. David Booth had two of them and Scott Clemmensen recorded 42 saves.

Booth, who missed 45 games earlier this season after sustaining a concussion, has four goals in the last four games.

While Clemmensen won the last two games, Tomas Vokoun will start against the Canadiens. Vokoun, though, has lost his last three starts and is 4-8-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average since Feb. 1.

"It has been a long year for Tomas and we have asked him to do a lot every night and he has responded quite well for us," coach Peter DeBoer told the Panthers' official Web site. "This two-game break gave him a chance to get some extra rest as make one final push in our last 10 games."

Vokoun is 1-2-0 against the Canadiens this season, but allowed one goal in each of the last two starts, including a 2-1 victory on Jan. 26.