Panthers hold on to beat Canadiens

NHL.com | Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 9:26 PM

MONTREAL (NHL.com) - Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad scored 2:27 apart in the second period and Scott Clemmensen took care of the rest, stopping 17 shots to lead the Florida Panthers a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

The Panthers (12-17-5) have won three straight and five of six to move within three points of the idle Ottawa Senators for sixth place in the Atlantic Division.

Alex Galchenyuk scored a third-period power-play goal and Peter Budaj made 23 saves for the Canadiens (20-12-3), who lost their third in four games, scoring three times in that span.

The goal did snap an 0-for-16 drought over a seven-game stretch for a Canadiens power play that ranked sixth in the NHL entering the game.

However, the Canadiens' power play couldn't convert when Mike Weaver and Scottie Upshall took consecutive penalties late in the third period, with the Panthers penalty-killing unit limiting them to one shot on goal over the two power plays, including 35 seconds with a two-man advantage.

Already missing forward Jonathan Huberdeau due to a foot injury sustained in a 3-2 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on Friday, the Panthers lost defenseman Erik Gudbranson after the first period with a lower-body injury.

It was not immediately clear what happened to Gudbranson, but just before leaving the ice on his final shift with 1:04 to play in the first, he was engaged in a puck battle in the corner of the Panthers defensive zone with Canadiens forwards Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. He skated slowly to the bench once the Panthers succeeded in clearing the puck.

Huberdeau was wearing a walking boot on his right foot after blocking a shot against Washington, but said he hoped to play in Florida's next game on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Gudbranson entered the game fourth on the Panthers in average ice time at 19:15 per game, including 2:08 per game on the penalty kill and 1:17 per game on the power play. He is one of six Panthers to have played in all 34 of their games this season.

After controlling the play in a scoreless first period by outshooting the Canadiens 14-8, the Panthers opened the scoring at 4:44 of the second. A Montreal defensive breakdown left Winchester all alone in the slot, and Tomas Kopecky found him for his fifth of the season.

The Panthers had a 3-on-2 break into the Montreal zone a few shifts later, and Tomas Fleischmann found Bjugstad at the faceoff circle for a shot that fooled Budaj for his sixth of the season.

Galchenyuk made it 2-1 at 2:28 of the third period, cashing in a rebound of a Brian Gionta shot for his 10th goal of the season to make it 2-1. Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban picked up the second assist on the goal, snapping a six-game pointless streak.

But the Panthers did a good job of bottling up the Canadiens after that, limiting them to one shot on Clemmensen as of the 12:38 mark of the third when Weaver took the first of two straight Florida minor penalties.

The Panthers' 18 shots on goal allowed was a new season-low, and it was the fifth time in eight games the Canadiens were held to 25 shots or fewer in a game.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
2nd Period
04:44FLA Jesse Winchester (5) ASST: Tomas Kopecky (5), Marcel Goc (5) 1 - 0 FLA
07:11FLA Nick Bjugstad (6) ASST: Tomas Fleischmann (13), Scottie Upshall (12) 2 - 0 FLA
3rd Period
02:28MTL PPG - Alex Galchenyuk (10) ASST: Brian Gionta (12), P.K. Subban (21) 2 - 1 FLA
Three Stars of the Game
Nick Bjugstad
Nick Bjugstad
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:43
Alex Galchenyuk
Alex Galchenyuk
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 16:28
Brian Campbell
Brian Campbell
G: 0Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 0PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 31:17
Penalty Summary
1st Period
03:55MTL David Desharnais  Holding against  Dmitry Kulikov
05:59FLA Tomas Kopecky  Roughing against  Brian Gionta
2nd Period
3rd Period
01:12FLA Sean Bergenheim  Interference against  David Desharnais
03:59MTL Ryan White  Tripping against  Shawn Matthias
12:38FLA Mike Weaver  Charging against  Tomas Plekanec
14:03FLA Scottie Upshall  Cross checking against  Brian Gionta
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/21/4
Faceoff Wins2930
Blocked Shots2219
Penalty Minutes84
4D. OlsenD0000015:53
7D. KulikovD0020024:17
12J. HayesR000108:50
14T. FleischmannL0112017:47
16A. BarkovC0000016:10
17J. WinchesterC1012014:13
18S. MatthiasC0002011:17
19S. UpshallR0113218:28
20S. BergenheimL0004215:19
21K. BarchR000107:31
24B. BoyesR0004015:29
27N. BjugstadC1012016:43
43M. WeaverD0010221:35
44E. GudbransonD000106:25
51B. CampbellD0012031:17
57M. GocC0110016:21
77T. GilbertD0000018:10
82T. KopeckyR0111216:59
30S. Clemmensen1718.94460:00
6D. MurrayD00-10011:28
8B. PrustL000006:56
11B. GallagherR0001019:48
14T. PlekanecC00-11019:57
21B. GiontaR01-11016:33
26J. GorgesD00-11020:55
27A. GalchenyukC10-12016:28
32T. MoenL000006:56
48D. BriereC00-11015:18
49M. BournivalL0000011:34
51D. DesharnaisC00-11220:28
53R. WhiteC00-1026:23
61R. DiazD00-10016:11
67M. PaciorettyL0003022:12
74A. EmelinD00-11016:45
76P. SubbanD0104027:40
79A. MarkovD0001027:01
81L. EllerC0001014:34
30P. Budaj2325.92058:53