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game recap

Niemi makes 52 saves, Canadiens hand Panthers seventh straight loss

Weber has goal, assist for Montreal, which has won three in row

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

Niemi's sliding save on Lammikko

FLA@MTL: Niemi stops Lammikko from point-blank range

Juho Lammikko receives a beautiful pass on the doorstep and tries to tuck home a backhand, but Antti Niemi makes a strong save to deny him

  • 00:41 •

MONTREAL -- The Florida Panthers saw their longest losing streak in five seasons reach seven games with a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Antti Niemi made 52 saves, one shy of the record for one game by a Montreal goaltender shared by Wayne Thomas and Carey Price.

"I don't know if I really heard that before, so it's pretty overwhelming," Niemi said about his name being chanted by the crowd.


[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Canadiens highlights]


The 35-year-old goaltender was surprised to learn he nearly tied the Canadiens record and even more so when he found out who originally set the mark.

"Wayne Thomas? No way. He was my goalie coach [with the San Jose Sharks]," Niemi said. "I've got to call him."

Max Domi scored his first goal in 18 games for the Canadiens (26-17-5), who won the second of back-to-back games for their third straight win and fourth in five games.

Video: FLA@MTL: Domi wires home rebound, signals goal

"That was a huge win," Domi said. "I think obviously [Niemi] was our best player, by far. He won us that game. And I think we had our opportunities, we capitalized for him, and it's great to see. He's the hardest-working guy on our team. He's always the last guy off the ice, he takes all the shots, and he's been in the League for a long time for a reason. So it's great to see that."

Mike Hoffman scored for the Panthers (17-20-8), who are 0-5-2 during their seven-game losing streak. James Reimer made 23 saves.

"You've got to give Niemi a ton of credit," Florida coach Bob Boughner said. "I think that probably was a game where we produced our most scoring chances of the year, and he came up big. And we didn't quit until the end. I thought that our guys continued to push and push and push, and that's how it's going right now. We don't have a lot of puck luck, and we find ourselves at the bottom again."

It is Florida's longest losing streak since it lost nine straight (0-5-4) from Oct. 22-Nov. 10, 2013.

Shea Weber scored Montreal's first power-play goal at home since Dec. 1. He also had an assist.

The Canadiens power play was 0-for-29 at home, including two opportunities in the first period, before Weber scored 29 seconds into the second. His one-timer from just above the top of the left face-off circle tied the game 1-1.

Video: FLA@MTL: Weber blasts one-timer past Reimer for PPG

Phillip Danault put Montreal ahead 2-1 at 10:44. He scored on a backhand inside the left post from the left side before Reimer could move to his right after Weber's slap shot missed to the right and bounced off the end boards.

Domi appeared to score at 12:23, but the goal was overturned after Boughner challenged for goaltender interference by Artturi Lehkonen.

Domi took off his right glove and signaled his own goal after he scored his 15th of the season, first since Dec. 9, at 16:53 to make it 3-1.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored his second goal in three games at 14:22 of the third period to make it 4-1. Brendan Gallagher scored into an empty net to make it 5-1 at 18:24.

Hoffman used the move made famous by Peter Forsberg to reach back and slide the puck past Niemi with just his right hand on his stick to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 14:11 of the first.

Video: FLA@MTL: Hoffman uses one hand to beat Niemi

"When you put up [53] shots, I mean, that [stinks] to lose, but you play like that most nights, you're probably more successful than not," Hoffman said.

Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar left the game at 3:40 of the second period after he was hit into the end boards by Montreal's Paul Byron, who received a minor penalty for charging. Weegar is under the NHL concussion protocol, Boughner said.

Video: Niemi stops 52 of 53 shots in Canadiens victory


They said it

"It's disappointing because we all know what we're going through here. And you know we asked the guys (to) come out tonight -- last game of the road trip, and it's been a tough road trip obviously, physically and mentally, you know -- come out with our best effort and get rewarded and get home, feel good about ourselves, and I thought we did a lot of great things out there. We did everything but put the puck in the back of the net." -- Panthers coach Bob Boughner


"[Goalie Antti Niemi] played great. I think his play speaks for itself. I don't think you need to say much more. Obviously, he gave us a chance to win. We were able to score and get some big goals in the second period." -- Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber


Need to know

The 53 shots on goal were a season high for the Panthers. They had 44 shots twice. ... It was the most shots allowed by the Canadiens this season. ... Thomas faced 57 shots in a 5-4 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 10, 1974. It was the most shots allowed by Montreal in one game. ... Thomas' 53 saves in that game were matched by Price in a 2-0 loss at the Nashville Predators on Nov. 14, 2009.


What's next

Panthers: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, SNO, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)

Video: Niemi sets career high in 5-1 win over Panthers

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