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Shutout streak ends short of 145 minutes for Luongo

1/20/2003

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens broke two streaks in
a victory over the Florida Panthers.

First, they snapped a long scoreless run by goalie Roberto Luongo
and that set up the end of their five-game losing skid on the road.

Jan Bulis and Doug Gilmour scored 38 seconds apart in the third
period to lead the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory.

Bulis scored the go-ahead goal with 4:49 left after he got
through the Panthers defense and took a shot from about six feet
away from the crease. Luongo got a piece of it but the puck
trickled in.

''I tried to close up as quick as I could but it wasn't quick
enough,'' Luongo said. ''There was no reason for that goal to go
in.''

Oleg Petrov also scored for Montreal. Luongo had a shutout
streak of 144 minutes, 51 seconds broken by Petrov's first-period
goal. The Panthers were coming off consecutive shutouts over Boston
and Pittsburgh, the first back-to-back blankings in team history.

''Sooner or later, we knew he was going to have to lose one,''
said new Canadiens coach Claude Julien, ''so we were hoping it was
going to be tonight.''

Jose Theodore had 31 saves for Montreal.

''We just stuck with the system,'' Theodore said. ''Every time
we get the first goal, we seem to get the momentum going. Even when
we were down we were playing hard.''

Olli Jokinen and Ivan Novoseltsev scored for Florida.

The Canadiens tied it at 2 at 14:33 on a power play when Andrei
Markov's shot from the left point went off Gilmour's leg and over
Luongo's shoulder.

''There were two guys in front of the net,'' Luongo said. ''I
came out and challenged and tried to take up as much room as I
could.''

The defeat ruined a two-game home winning streak for Florida,
which had gone winless in nine home games before this homestand.

''It's a lot more difficult to accept a game like tonight when
you have an opportunity to put it away,'' Panthers coach Mike
Keenan said. ''To have it get away from you late is very
difficult.''

Florida went ahead 2-1 at 5:48 of the third period. Stephen
Weiss took a shot from the left circle that was blocked by
Theodore. The rebound came out in front of the crease, and
Novoseltsev shot the puck low past Theodore on the stick side.

The Panthers made it 1-1 at 6:31 of the second period during a
power play. Theodore blocked Viktor Kozlov's shot from the left
circle but Jokinen got the rebound and poked the puck behind
Theodore. It was Jokinen's team-leading 24th goal of the season.

Montreal took a 1-0 lead at 1:31 of the second period. With
defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Andreas Lilja spread along the blue
line, Petrov took control of the puck in the neutral zone and
skated between them straight toward Luongo. Petrov backhanded the
puck underneath Luongo's blocker to break Luongo's franchise-record
scoreless streak.

''We're trying to get points for the playoffs,'' Luongo said.
''The streak's not really important. I'm just disappointed with the
loss.''

Game notes
Jokinen has six goals in his last six games. ... This was
the first of four meetings between the teams. ... The crowd of 19,250
marked the Panthers' fourth sellout this season. ... Julien earned
his first NHL victory in his second game since replacing fired
coach Michel Therrien.