CANADIENS (23-13-3) at PANTHERS (14-20-5)
TV: RDS, TSN, FS-F
Last 10: Montreal 6-4-0; Florida 6-4-0
Season series: This is the second of four games, with the next one a week from Monday. The Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Dec. 15. Florida's Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad scored 2:27 apart in the second period, and Scott Clemmensen made 17 saves.
Big story: Florida activated goalie Tim Thomas from injured reserve Tuesday but he was the backup behind Clemmensen in a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Thomas (lower body) could play Sunday for the first time since Dec. 10.
"It's just an extra day, extra time to make sure," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said before the game Saturday. "He could play, but we're just giving him the extra day to make sure that everything is good."
Canadiens: Montreal went a week between games, and after a 2-1 shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday plays back-to-back and three on the road in four nights. The Canadiens are 5-3-0 in the second of back-to-backs after going 7-1-1 last season.
"For us right now, obviously we know we have, I think it's about 21 games until the next break," defenseman P.K. Subban told the team website prior to the game Saturday. "We have to make sure we start off on the right foot, and it's just getting back to doing the things that are making our team successful and have made us successful for the first portion of the season."
Panthers: Florida also is playing the second of three in four nights, but all at home.
Florida has lost three in a row, allowing 15 goals, after a season-best five-game win streak and victories in seven of eight games. The Panthers had scored first in six straight games before falling behind 2-0 Saturday.
"The entire road trip that we just came on we scored first; we won three of them," Horachek said after the game. "… Anytime you get scored on, at any game at all, getting scored on two goals early in the game, that's old. That's not the way you want to play. If you get scored on you want to be able to respond and go back out."
Who's hot: Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec has a goal in two straight games, the fourth time this season he has done that. Forward Brian Gionta has four points in five games. … Panthers forwards Aleksander Barkov and Sean Bergenheim have five points in past five games.
Injury report: Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges (lower body) played Saturday after missing one game. Forward George Parros (concussion) and defenseman Davis Drewiske (shoulder) are out. … The Panthers are without Winchester (hand), defensemen Erik Gudbranson (orbital bone) and Ed Jovanovski (hip), and forward Scottie Upshall (upper body).
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