GAME: Montreal Canadiens (28-20-6-2) at Florida Panthers (18-23-11-3).
TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Montreal Canadiens didn't make the playoffs last season, and they're
determined not to let it happen again.
The Canadiens will look to improve their chances of earning a postseason
berth when they visit the Florida Panthers.
Sitting in seventh place in the conference, Montreal beat its closest
competition prior to the All-Star break as it edged the New York Islanders 2-1
on Thursday. The Islanders are five points behind the Canadiens.
Michael Ryder, who leads NHL rookies with 14 goals, scored the game-winner
at 8:46 of the third period for Montreal, which has won three straight and four
of five (4-1-0) since a three-game losing streak.
"It was a great pass by Saku (Koivu), and I just wanted to get to the net,
and I managed to squeak it in," Ryder said. "It's good to end on a note like
Mike Ribeiro scored for the third straight game, and Sheldon Souray earned
his 20th assist for the Canadiens, who are opening a three-game road trip.
Souray, who leads the league's defensemen with 15 goals, had never had more
than 11 points in a season coming into this campaign.
"It was a great effort from everyone," Souray said Thursday. "It was a
good team win."
The Panthers are coming off Wednesday's 5-4 overtime win over Phoenix, which
snapped a four-game winless streak (0-3-1).
Olli Jokinen scored two power-play goals, including the game-winner with
1:38 left in overtime, after Juraj Kolnik and Mike Van Ryn scored 28 seconds
apart in the final 1:47 of regulation to force the extra period.
"It seemed like if for once we got the hockey gods smiling our way,"
Florida coach Rick Dudley said. "When we got down two goals they were
devastated. You could see it on their faces. But we never gave up."