Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Florida leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, November 16th
Canadiens1Final
Panthers5
Game 2: Tuesday, November 28th
Panthers0Final
SO
Canadiens1
Game 3: Friday, December 29th
Canadiens1Final
Panthers3
Game 4: Tuesday, February 13th
Panthers1Final
Canadiens0

Canadiens 1

(10-5-3, 23 pts)

Panthers 5

(7-9-4, 18 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 16, 2006

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 T
MTL 0 1 01
FLA 1 3 15

O. Jokinen (Panthers - C): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

E. Belfour (Panthers - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: .964

J. Bouwmeester (Panthers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Jokinen's hat trick powers reeling Panthers past Habs

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- After goalie Ed Belfour protected Florida's lead in the first period, Olli Jokinen made sure that the Panthers built on it.

NHL Career Leaders: Goaltender Wins
Rank Player Years Wins Win %
1 Patrick Roy 19 551 .618
2 Ed Belfour 17 461 .525
3 Martin Brodeur 13 455 .565
4 Terry Sawchuk 21 447 .562
5 Jacques Plante 18 434 .614
6 Curtis Joseph 16 432 .514
7 Tony Esposito 16 423 .566
8 Glenn Hall 18 407 .545
9 Grant Fuhr 19 403 .567
10 Mike Vernon 19 385 .575

Belfour made 13 saves in the first period and Jokinen's second career hat trick broke open a 1-0 game as the Florida Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

"It's good for our confidence, but it's just one game," said Jokinen, who scored twice in the second period and once in the third. "Eddie was outstanding in the first period. We didn't do a good job in the first, but Eddie was outstanding. He was the biggest reason we were up by one goal."

The Panthers hadn't won since a 2-1 victory over Toronto on Nov. 2. They had dropped 11 of 14 overall.

Chris Gratton and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for Florida, which had lost four of five at home since starting the season 4-0 there.

"We can't be satisfied where we are now," Jokinen said. "We have to build on it."

Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. The Canadiens went 2-2 during a six-day road trip.

Belfour finished with 27 saves for the Panthers. He made several big saves in the first period when Montreal outshot Florida 13-7. He was particularly strong during a power play when he stopped five shots.

"When we had some breakdowns, he shut the door and it gave us a second wind," Florida coach Jacques Martin said.

David Aebischer stopped 20-of-24 shots for Montreal before being pulled for the third period. Cristobal Huet stopped 14-of-15 shots in the third.

It was the second consecutive start Aebischer was pulled from the game. He was replaced late in the second period of Saturday's 5-1 loss at Toronto after allowing four goals on 28 shots.

"Tonight he didn't seem comfortable from the start to the end of the second period," said Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau. "But I'm not worried about him. He ll bounce back."

Jokinen, who hadn't scored since Florida's last victory, gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead 37 seconds into the middle period when his soft wrist shot sneaked between Aebischer's leg and his glove.

"I was ready," Aebischer said. "I just didn't play well. I have to play better. I have to do better next time."

After Plekanec cut the lead to 2-1, Jokinen restored the Panthers' two-goal margin at 16:53. He took a pass from Nathan Horton across the crease and waited patiently before lifting the puck over Aebischer.

"They scored a big goal to come back to 2-1," Jokinen said. "When you get scored against, it s good to get a goal right back."

Bouwmeester made it 4-1, scoring a power-play goal at 19:35 of the second period. His wrist shot went through the legs of two Montreal players and beat Aebischer low to the glove side. Belfour was credited with the 33rd assist of his 18-year career.

Jokinen completed the hat trick with 31.5 seconds left in the game when he poked home a loose puck in the crease. His other three-goal game was Nov. 25, 2005, against Pittsburgh.

Gratton scored the only goal of the first period when his quick wrist shot from the circle went over Aebischer's glove.

"I thought we had a decent start," Carbonneau said. "We played pretty well in the first period, but we came out of it 1-0 down. That second goal really killed us and cut our legs off."

Game notes


Florida left winger Martin Gelinas left the game in the second period because of a bruised chest. Gelinas, injured when he was hit by a puck, didn't return. ... Joe Nieuwendyk returned after missing two games with back problems. ... Florida center Stephen Weiss returned after missing one game because of a knee injury. ... Montreal defenseman Janne Niinimaa, acquired in the offseason in a trade with Dallas for center Mike Ribeiro, was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Niinimaa is a team-worst minus-7.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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