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Habs hope to rebound against Panthers

by Brian Compton
PANTHERS (30-31-11) at CANADIENS (36-30-8)

Last 10: Florida 6-3-1; Montreal 6-2-2.

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Montreal won the first two before Florida responded with a 2-1 victory on Jan. 26 at the BankAtlantic Center.

Big Story: Montreal is starting to get healthy, and that could spell trouble for a number of teams in the Eastern Conference. Mike Cammalleri and Marc-Andre Bergeron -- two key components on the Habs' power play -- returned in time for Wednesday's game, a 3-2 shootout loss at Buffalo.

Team Scope:

Panthers: Florida will be looking for its third straight win on Thursday night. After earning a 5-2 victory against Tampa Bay on Sunday, the Panthers followed that up with a 4-1 win at Toronto on Tuesday night. David Booth, who spent the majority of this season on injured reserve, enjoyed his first two-goal game of 2009-10.

"It's hard to come back from two months of not doing anything and then try to skate and play," Booth  said. "That (Olympic break) was huge. I got some games in before the break and then we came back and I'm feeling a bit better out there."

Canadiens: Despite holding a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes, Montreal was forced to settle for one point on Wednesday as the Sabres rallied in the third period with goals from Tim Connolly and Paul Gaustad in the final 1:59.

Connolly scored with Buffalo enjoying a 6-on-4 advantage with goalie Ryan Miller out for an extra attacker, and Gaustad tied it during a scramble in front of Carey Price.

"I'm not happy whatsoever," said Price, who made 40 saves. "Not one bit. We got to find a way to get that done. That's a point we need, and we need to find a way to do it. We played hard for 55 minutes and after that we just sat … and let them come to us."

Who's Hot: With a pair of goals against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, Booth has four goals in as many games. Scott Clemmensen made 42 saves against his former team and has won back-to-back starts. … Andrei Kostitsyn scored both goals for Montreal on Wednesday, his 13th and 14th of the season.

Injury Report: Panthers forward Gregory Campbell (lower body) is questionable. … Habs forward Travis Moen did not play on Wednesday after taking a skate to the face during Monday's 2-0 loss against Ottawa.

Stat Pack: Prior to the Olympic break, the Panthers set a new franchise record by going 14 consecutive games of scoring two goals or less. They've hit the back of the net 13 times in their last four contests.

Puck Drop: "Carey gave us a strong game, and you'd like to win that game, but the penalties made it difficult for us. "What you’ve got to learn from that is the penalties cost us." -- Canadiens coach Jacques Martin
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