The Florida Panthers gutted out a 2-1 win in a gritty game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Belle Center in Montreal. The Panthers received second period goals from Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad and held off a furious Montreal comeback attempt in the third period.
The Panthers started the game minus Jonathan Huberdeau who missed the game with a foot injury. Huberdeau was walking around in a boot but said he expects to be back on the ice when the Panthers take on the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. The Panthers took another knock when defenseman Erik Gudbranson left the game late in the first period after sustaining a lower body injury. It appears Gudbranson suffered a cut from an errant skate and according to Dale Tallon, he will not go on IR.
Dale Tallon says Erik Gudbranson won’t go on IR … definitely looks sore, appears to have been cut by an errant skate #FlaPanthers
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) December 16, 2013
Scott Clemmensen made his second straight start in place of the injured Tim Thomas, and he made 17 saves on 18 shots en route to his second straight win. Peter Budaj was in net for the Canadiens and stopped 23 of 25.
The Panthers have now won three straight games and in doing so have improved their record to 12-17-5. Florida has gotten off to a great start to December as they have won five of their seven games this month. The team continues their four game Canadian road trip on Tuesday when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Florida finishes up the roadie with back-to-back against the Senators and Jets on Thursday and Friday respectively.
Alex Galchenyuk scored the Canadiens lone goal at 2:28 into the third period. The Panthers held on for the win thanks to a number of huge defensive plays including a well timed stick by Dmitry Kulikov on a late penalty kill to save a goal and blocked shots from Mike Weaver, Jesse Winchester and Marcel Goc.