Series (Game 2 of 4)

Montreal leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, January 20th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 28th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 18th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 12th

Panthers 3

(15-19-8, 47 pts)

Canadiens 6

(21-19-5, 54 pts)

7:30 PM ET, January 28, 2003

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
FLA 2 1 03
MTL 2 2 26

R. Zednik (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

S. Koivu (Canadiens - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

M. Ribeiro (Canadiens - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Zednik, Koivu lead Habs' offensive charge

MONTREAL (AP) -- Richard Zednik learned a new move from observing the NHL's leading scorer and put it to good use.

Richard Zednik

Zednik scored twice and Saku Koivu had three assists to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-3 victory Tuesday night over the Florida Panthers.

Zednik, who had 10 of Montreal's 35 shots in the game, scored his 23rd goal in the first period to set a new career high before breaking a 3-3 tie in the second with a sharp-angled backhand shot over Roberto Luongo for his second of the game.

"I've been trying that in practice and I knew I had to go upstairs on him because he would go down, and I got a great shot,'' Zednik said. "I saw Markus Naslund score like that so I figured I had to go upstairs, too.''

Patrice Brisebois, Andrei Markov, Randy McKay and Mike Ribeiro also scored for Montreal, which won its second straight.

"We played good down low,'' Zednik said. "We were cycling the puck and their (defensemen) had a tough time with us. We capitalized and we won the game.''

Viktor Kozlov, Stephane Matteau and Stephen Weiss scored for Florida. The Panthers, who tied the game twice after trailing 2-0 and 3-2, have lost four of five.

"It's a tough loss tonight,'' Florida defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh said. "The game is played for 60 minutes -- we all know that -- but unfortunately today we were ready to only play for maybe half the game.''

Luongo blamed himself for allowing Zednik's go-ahead goal with 4:14 left in the second.

"It was a good shot, but I wasn't square to him,'' Luongo said. "I was trying to cover the short side and he put it far side. You've got to be square to that so he has nothing to shoot at.''

McKay scored his sixth 7:49 into the third to put Montreal up 5-3, and Ribeiro got his third 8 minutes later to close out the scoring.

Koivu assisted on both of Zednik's goals and Markov's power-play goal earlier in the second as the Canadiens remained undefeated in five games.

Montreal has recorded at least a point in each of its six games under new head coach Claude Julien (3-0-2-1).

The Canadiens had won just two of 12 when Julien replaced Michel Therrien, who was fired on Jan. 17.

"Now whatever happens, everybody is concentrating on the next shift,'' Koivu said. "We are showing more emotion, we're more confident and when you have your confidence, you'll get your bounces.''

Brisebois opened the scoring 3:22 in when he blasted a slap shot past Luongo for his fourth of the season.

The Canadiens had a second goal refused moments later when referee Kevin Pollock ruled that Luongo had caught Ribeiro's shot outside the net.

The game was delayed for four minutes as a video review proved inconclusive before Zednik scored 5:11 into the period to put Montreal up 2-0.

Kozlov got credit for his 12th goal on a power play at 11:28 to draw the Panthers to within 2-1. The Canadiens had just killed the first of two minor penalties with Florida holding a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:38 when Olli Jokinen's shot deflected off Kozlov and into the net past goalie Jose Theodore.

Matteau drew the Panthers even with an unassisted goal at 16:50.

Tied at 2-2 after the first, Markov scored his 10th of the season on a power play 7:01 into the second.

Weiss drew Florida even at 11:50 as he drove to the net after drawing a faceoff back to defenseman Ivan Majesky and put a rebound of Majesky's point shot into an open left side for his fifth goal.

Game notes

Panthers enforcer Peter Worrell had words with McKay as both were sent off for roughing 7:32 into the second. Worrell fought with Canadiens D Stephane Quintal moments after returning to the ice and both were given majors at 10:00. ... Zednik scored 22 goals last season. ... Therrien decided to remain with the organization as a pro scout. ... Montreal C Joe Juneau missed the game because of back spasms.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press