Dec 29, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Sean Bergenheim (20) celebrates with teammates after scoring on an empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period at BB&T Center. Robert Mayer USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers End Skid, Top Canadiens 4-1

The Florida Panthers put an end to their three game losing streak last night when they beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at BB&T Center.

The Panthers put together a strong defensive performance allowing only 22 shots. The defense also provided contributions on the offensive end of the ice as Dmitry Kulikov and Brian Campbell each scored goals and Tom Gilbert had two assists. (Campbell also had a helper of his own.)

Scott Clemmensen was in the net again for the Panthers making 21 saves while picking up his 5th win of the season. His counterpart in the Canadiens net, Peter Budaj stopped 21 of 24 Panthers shots.

The win ends a three game losing streak for the Panthers and improves their record to 15-20-5. With 35 points, they currently sit 10 points out of the playoffs.

Dmitry Kulikov got the Panthers out to the early lead at 6:10 into the first period with his second goal of the season. The goal came when Kulikov jumped up into an odd-man rush and finished off a fresh Tomas Fleischmann feed. Brandon Prust tied the game at one early in the second period but that was all the offense the Canadiens would produce. Well that is not entirely true; the Canadiens had two goals waved off during the game, the first due to a Brian Gionta high stick in the first period and the second due to an Alex Galchenyuk goalie interference call in the third. Needless to say, the large contingent of Canadien fans in the building did not go home happy.

Florida extended their lead to 2-1 in the second period when a Brian Campbell wrist shot deflected over the shoulder of Peter Budaj and into the back of the net. The goal was Campbell’s 5th of the season. Aleksander Barkov scored his 7th of the year at 14:29 into the second when he tipped in a Tom Gilbert shot. The goal extends Barkov’s point streak to three games and gives hime eight points in his last nine games (3-5-8).

Sean Bergenheim finished this off by scoring on the empty net late in the third period. The goal was his eighth of the season and it extended his goal streak to three games. He has scored four goals during that span.

The Panthers improved to 2-0-0 against the Canadiens. The two teams will meet again on January 6th in Montreal. Florida is back in action at home on New Year’s Eve when they take on the New York Rangers at 5 p.m. ET.

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