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Habs continue Sunshine State swing against Panthers

10:23 AM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens were able to survive and get a victory last time out despite blowing a late lead.

The Florida Panthers were not as fortunate.

The Canadiens take aim at a second straight victory on Thursday evening when they visit the Panthers.

Montreal built a three-goal lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday before yielding three goals over the final 5:56 of the third period. That included giving up the game-tying goal while shorthanded with just 44 seconds on the clock.

Carey Price and company recovered, though, and escaped with a 4-3 shootout win, as Price stopped all three skaters he faced and David Desharnais had the lone tally in the breakaway session.

"At the end of the day we lost the lead but the game wasn't lost yet so we stayed focused and won the hockey game," said Price, who ended with 21 saves.

Brian Gionta, P.K. Subban and Travis Moen scored in regulation for the Canadiens, who snapped a three-game skid (0-2-1). Moen scored for the first time in 22 games, Gionta got his first in nine contests, while Subban logged his third goal and sixth point in six games this season.

Despite giving up the late lead, Habs head coach Michel Therrien was just happy to leave town with the victory.

"You know what, we came to win this hockey game and that's what we did. We were almost perfect for 54 minutes. We opened the door. ... We will learn from it," Therrien said.

The Panthers are hoping to pick up a similar lesson after failing to hold a two-goal lead in the third period on Tuesday against the Washington Capitals, who netted two goals in the final 5:07 of third before getting the winner 32 seconds into overtime to deal Florida a 6-5 defeat.

It capped a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the Caps for the Panthers, who lost 5-0 in Washington on Saturday. Florida has split its past six games, but does have points in five of those outings (3-1-2).

Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice, Drew Shore logged his first NHL goal and Tomas Fleischmann put home the 99th tally of his career in the setback. Scott Clemmensen made 23 saves, including the initial stop on Troy Brouwer in overtime before the Caps forward put home his own rebound.

"I think our composure is something we have to continue to work on," noted Florida coach Kevin Dineen. "When you're feeling the pressure, it's how you respond to it and we didn't to it well. Obviously, sometimes you survive those and tonight is certainly a tough loss."

The Panthers will play the second of a four-game homestand and won both of their meetings with the Canadiens at home last season in sweeping the four- game series.

However, Montreal snapped that four-game series slide with a 4-1 home win on Jan. 22, getting two goals from Andrei Markov and 27 saves by Price.

Clemmensen allowed all four goals on 33 shots to suffer his first career defeat against Montreal.

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