Unfortunately, for the Florida Panthers, it is becoming another season of playing out the string in March. They have done well in the spoiler role in past seasons, but have not gotten off to a good start this season. The Panthers gave up multiple weak goals, and lost to the Montreal Canadiens 4-0, Thursday night in Sunrise.
Despite being the visiting team, the usual pro-Montreal crowd had a lot to cheer about. The Canadiens scored early and often, getting on the board quickly in the first period on Hal Gill’s first goal of the season. Andrei Kostitsyn hit Gill with a pass from the right wing boards, and Gill slapped a shot passed a screened Tomas Vokoun.
Montreal made it 2-0 on just its third shot of the game, and chased Vokoun in the process. Kostitsyn skated in and let loose a drive from just above the left face off circle, beating Vokoun over the blocker.
Scott Clemmensen took over in net for the Panthers, and didn’t fare much better. Early in the second period, Montreal forward David Desharnais threw a weak backhand shot on net, which Clemmensen deflected into his own net.
The Canadiens took a 4-0 lead 3:21 into the third period, when Travis Moen backhanded a puck on net that was deflected by Lars Eller over Clemmensen’s shoulder.
Carey Price, who wasn’t called on to make too many big saves, stopped all 30 shots for the shutout.
The Panthers, who lost their third straight game, visit the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.