Canadiens 1, Panthers 0 (OT)By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Thu, Feb 14, 2013 10:21 PM EST
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Rene Bourque scored at 2:10 of overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. The Canadiens remained perfect against Southeast Division teams this year, boosting their record to 5-0. Defense dominated the game. Through regulation, Montreal had 30 shots on goal to Florida's 26. But nothing got through until overtime. For the Panthers, it was a strong defensive effort but a disappointing result at home. They have earned eight out of a possible 14 points in their past seven games. Panthers goalie Jose Theodore, who was drafted by the Canadiens and spent a decade with the organization, stopped 31 shots but fell to 2-3-1 against his former team. Thursday night's performance was still a major improvement over his career numbers against Montreal (4.60 goals-against average). It was also an improvement over what the Panthers have done between the pipes this season -- a league-worst 3.83 GAA entering the game. The struggles of Theodore and backup Scott Clemmensen -- a.872 save percentage, second worst in the league -- had some calling for Jacob Makstrom. He's the Panthers' 23-year-old goalie prospect who is currently playing in the AHL (.923 save percentage). Meanwhile, Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who made 26 saves, is now 5-4-1 against the Panthers. He entered the game with a 2.10 GAA against the Panthers. Montreal was the busier team in the first two periods, putting up 21 shots to Florida's 13. The Panthers, though, rallied in the third with a 13-9 shot advantage. NOTES: Forward Kris Versteeg, who led the Panthers last season with a career-high 23 goals, was scratched because of an upper-body injury. He was hurt when he was checked into the boards Tuesday by Washington's Alex Ovechkin. Earlier this year, he missed five games because of a groin injury. He has one goal in seven games. ... The Canadiens swapped minor-league goalies with Tampa Bay on Thursday. Montreal got Dustin Tokarski, 23, in exchange for Cedrick Desjardins, 27. Tokarski, the 122nd player selected in the 2008 draft, won a gold medal for Canada in the 2009 World Juniors Championship. Desjardins, who was undrafted, is 2-2 with a 1.00 GAA in four NHL games. This is the second time he has been traded by Montreal. Months after that first trade, he helped Tampa Bay beat Montreal 4-1 on Dec. 30, 2010. ... Up next, the Canadiens return home for a Saturday night date with the Flyers. ... The Panthers close out their four-game homestand Saturday afternoon against Tampa Bay and Monday night vs. Toronto.
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