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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, January 6th (All times Eastern)

Florida Panthers (16-20-6) at Montreal Canadiens (24-14-5), 7:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - While the Florida Panthers no doubt got an emotional lift from the return of captain Ed Jovanovski, rookie Aleksander Barkov is quietly putting together a solid run of his own.

The second overall pick of the 2013 draft will try to post the longest point streak by a rookie in franchise history on Monday night when the Panthers kick off a road trip against the Montreal Canadiens.

The 18-year-old Finn has posted a goal and five assists over a five-game point streak that matches Radek Dvorak's club mark for a first-year Panther. Dvorak had six goals and seven points over his run from Nov. 2-9, 1995.

Barkov has managed to post three goals and 11 points over his past 11 games, giving him seven goals and 21 points in 42 contests this season. He notched a pair of assists in Saturday's 5-4 shootout win over the Nashville Predators.

The big story was the return of Jovanovski, with the 37-year-old suiting up for the first time since March 16 of last season. The former first overall pick of the 1994 draft by Florida had been out since having a hip resurfacing procedure back on March 28.

Jovanovski was a plus-3 in Saturday's victory while logging just under 16 minutes of ice time.

"It felt good just being with the guys and being able to celebrate a goal," said Jovanovski. "We made it closer than we wanted to but found a way to come out with two points."

Nashville nearly spoiled the return by scoring twice in the final 5:08 of regulation, but Tomas Kopecky had the winner in the sixth round of the shootout.

Kopecky also scored in regulation and Brad Boyes and Marcel Goc both had a goal and an assist as Florida went 2-2-1 on a five-game homestand. The Panthers play their next three on the road.

Forward Scottie Upshall also returned to Florida's lineup after missing three games in a row with an upper-body injury, but defenseman Alex Petrovic left Saturday's win early with an undisclosed injury.

Tim Thomas, who made 38 saves versus the Predators, may get the call again tonight for the Panthers and it would give him a chance to even his career record versus the Canadiens.

Thomas has plenty of experience against Montreal due to his days with the Boston Bruins and is 14-15-4 against the club with a 2.82 goals against average and two shutouts in 35 meetings (33 starts).

The Canadiens are 1-0-2 in their past three games and are coming off a 4-3 overtime setback to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Montreal's P.K. Subban took a hooking penalty with 19 seconds left in regulation and Ottawa cashed in 58 ticks into the bonus period as Clarke MacArthur whipped a shot inside the near post.

Brian Gionta had a goal and Carey Price ended with 30 saves in a loss that featured Danny Briere's best game with the Habs since joining the club this past offseason as a free agent.

The 36-year-old had been a healthy scratch for Montreal's previous two games, but an upper-body injury to forward Ryan White put Briere back in the lineup and he responded with two goals and an assist.

"It was about time for me to help this team. When you have good feelings, something good usually happens," Briere said about his offensive output.

Briere notched his first points in 11 games and has seven goals and six assists in 30 contests this season.

The Panthers have already picked up a pair of victories this season over the Canadiens and have won six of the previous nine encounters overall. Florida has won four of its last six in Montreal.

Florida's Scott Clemmensen was in net for both victories, while Montreal backup Peter Budaj started the two setbacks.

Price may get the start tonight and is 5-4-1 lifetime versus the Panthers with a 1.88 GAA in 10 starts.

01/06 10:42:39 ET

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Final
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PHO 64
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10:30pm Tonight
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Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
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MAR 68
Final
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RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
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LIB 50
 
Final
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AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
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UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
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Final
WCU 66
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Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
 
Final
EVAN 79
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COL 71
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ND 81
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Final
NCSU 84
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Final
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Half
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2nd
EWASH 56
NKENTUCKY 28
 
2nd
IDST 34
WLVRN 41
 
1st
GEOR 21
UF 20
 
1st
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1st
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1st
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10:30pm Tonight
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11:00pm Tonight
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Final
NYI 3
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Final
BUF 1
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FLA 1
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NYR 3
 
Final
DET 5
PHI 2
 
3rd
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TOR 3
 
3rd
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2nd
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CHI 0
 
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