Florida (2-2-0) at Montreal (4-0-1)

Cloudy Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EDT Mon Oct 20, 2008
  • TV: NBCS, RDS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

As one of the most celebrated franchises in North American pro sports, the Montreal Canadiens are certainly enjoying an exciting start to their 100th season.

The Canadiens look to win their fifth straight game and achieve their best start in 26 years when they host the Florida Panthers on Monday.

Montreal (4-0-1) has a storied history, as an Original Six team and winner of an NHL record 24 Stanley Cups.

The Canadiens are now in the midst of a championship drought, as they haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1992-93, but they’ve gotten off to a championship-caliber start to 2008-09.

After suffering a 2-1 shootout loss to Buffalo in its season opener Oct. 10, Montreal has outscored its opponents 19-8 to win its last four games.

The Canadiens, who haven’t won five in a row since March 17-27, 2007, also have a chance to open a season with five victories in six games for the first time since 1982-83.

“Winning is fun, and right now we’ve only lost that first one in the shootout in Buffalo so we’re still at the point where we need to rack up wins and move up in the standings,” said Alex Tanguay, who scored twice in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Phoenix. “Right now we’re certainly having fun.”

Captain Saku Koivu added a goal and two assists against the Coyotes, bringing his totals during the winning streak to two goals and six assists.

Tanguay, who has three goals and three assists during the run, has six goals and seven assists in nine career games versus the Panthers (2-2-0).

Goaltender Carey Price had another solid outing Saturday, stopping 28 shots to improve to 3-0-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average on the season.

The Canadians went 2-1-1 against the Panthers in 2007-08, but have lost their last three home meetings versus Florida.

Nick Boynton and Cory Stillman scored for Florida on Saturday, as the Panthers bounced back from a 6-2 loss to Minnesota two nights earlier by beating the New York Islanders 2-0 at home.

“It was nice to follow up probably our worst effort of the year with maybe our best,” said first-year Florida coach Pete DeBoer said, who club plays eight of its next 10 games on the road.

Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves for his 26th career shutout. Vokoun, an All-Star last season, has yielded two total goals in the Panthers’ two wins, but has given up nine in the team’s two losses.

“I’m not the kind of guy that should be worried about his play,” Vokoun said. “Obviously I am one of the highest-paid players on the team so my performance has to be better and I know that.”

Vokoun is 2-3-2 with one tie and a 3.00 lifetime GAA against the Canadiens.

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Monday, Oct 20