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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, December 15th (All times Eastern)

Florida Panthers (11-17-5) at Montreal Canadiens (20-11-3), 6 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Solid defense and goaltender allowed the Montreal Canadiens to pick up a victory on Saturday despite continued struggles by their offense.

The Habs hope to take some pressure off the back end on Sunday night when they play host to the Florida Panthers.

Montreal followed up a five-game win streak by getting shut out in a game versus the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, then dropped a 2-1 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers two nights later.

The Canadiens managed just a single goal last night against the New York Islanders, but it was enough thanks to Carey Price's second shutout of the season and 21st of his career, a 1-0 victory.

Max Pacioretty had the goal 1:51 into overtime, tapping a pass from David Desharnais past Evgeni Nabokov for his club-high 12th tally of the season.

"We shut it down pretty well. Both goalies were amazing, but in a game like that you just need one bounce and that is just what we got," said Pacioretty.

Montreal improved to 10-2-1 in its past 13 games overall and is three points back of Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division.

The Panthers open up a four-game road trip having won four of their past five, including two straight in a shootout. They got the best of Detroit in the tiebreaker on Tuesday before a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday.

The teams combined for seven goals in the shootout, with Tomas Kopecky following a Jason Chimera miss with a hard wrister to end the game in the 10th round.

"Obviously it feels good, especially to win the game and get that extra point," Kopecky said. "We need every point right now."

Dylan Olsen and Alex Barkov tallied in regulation for the Panthers, who got 23 saves from Scott Clemmensen. He got the start after Tim Thomas suffered an injury in practice on Thursday and could be in line to go again tonight seeing as Thomas was placed on injured reserve Saturday.

The Panthers improved to 4-4 in shootouts this season and hope to have created some momentum ahead of this swing as the club is just 4-10-2 on the road this season.

The play of the red-hot Olsen could also help Florida get things going on the road. The defenseman has three goals and three assists over a five-game point streak.

These two clubs have traded season series sweeps of the last two campaigns. The Panthers won all four meetings in 2011-12 before the Habs countered by claiming all three encounters last season.

The Panthers have lost six of their last nine in Montreal.

12/15 10:33:51 ET

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