Game Thread: Can Habs Spoil Panthers Playoff Hopes?

MONTREAL, CANADA - OCTOBER 24: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens passes the puck while being chased by Stephen Weiss #9 of the Florida Panthers during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on October 24, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Panthers defeated the Canadiens 2-1. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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It's certainly not a good time for the Florida Panthers to be on a losing streak. The cats have lost three straight games and, if they are not careful, could find themselves quickly falling from third place in the Eastern Conference to ninth and an abrupt end to their season.

The current Southeast Division leaders are 25th in five-on-five goals F/A, and have a 24th ranked penalty kill. Their power play is a respectable 11th in the league, but overall they're not exactly screaming Stanley Cup contender.

The Panthers did salvage single points, in a pair of shootout losses to the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers, over the weekend, giving them a three point lead over the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. But against bottom feeder teams this late in the season, those missed points could come back bite the Panthers.

Fortunately for them, they've managed to beat the Canadiens in all three meetings this season but don't be surprised to see the Habs wanting to play spoiler.

"We still want to win hockey games," said Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworh, following Monday's practice. "Regardless of where guys are, the end result remains that we still want the 'W.'"

Jose Theodore is 4-1-2 with a 1.66 goals-against average in his last seven starts, but got shelled in his only Bell Centre appearance as a non-Hab. Scott Clemmensen is 5-0-0 (1.65 GAA, .942 SvPct) in his career against Montreal.

MONTREAL CANADIENS PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole

Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec - Louis Leblanc

Mike Blunden - Lars Eller - Ryan White

Aaron Palushaj - Petteri Nokelainen - Brad Staubitz

Defensemen

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban

Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin

Chris Campoli - Frederic St-Denis

Goalies

Carey Price - Peter Budaj

Habspanthers_medium

FLORIDA PANTHERS PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Tomas Kopecky

Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson

Wojtek Wolski - Shawn Matthias -Kris Versteeg

Marco Sturm - John Madden - Jerred Smithson

Defensemen

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Erik Gudbranson - Ed Jovanovski

Goalies

Jose Theodore - Scott Clemmensen

Panthers vs Canadiens coverage

SBN Panthers coverage from Litter Box Cats

Interview with Mac Bennett, who says he plans to return to Michigan next season


and Greg Pateryn


Chris Boucher thinks Aaron Palushaj needs a chance on the wing with Tomas Plekanec

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