Game 65: Canadiens send snowbirds home happy

Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun is beaten by a shot from Canadiens’ Andrei Kostitsyn in the first period on Thursday night. Hans Deryk, Reuters

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• At a Glance: The Canadiens played before thousands of their fans in Florida on Thursday night and send them out into the warm night happy with a 4-0 win over the Panthers. The Canadiens got their first goal from an unlikely source when Hal Gill scored his first of the season with a point shot that eluded a screened Tomas Vokoun at 5:02. Andrei Kostitsyn, who has been playing well since being placed on a line with Lars Eller and Travis Moen, scored with a rocket of a shot at 8:54 that Vokoun had no chance on. It was Montreal’s second goal on only three shots and ended Vokoun’s night, replaced by Scott Clemmensen. Davis Desharnais made it 3-0 4:59 into the second period when his weak shot went off Clemmensen and dribbled over the goal line.Eller scored his fifth goal of the season 3:21 into the third period when he redirected a Moen pass over Clemmensen’s shoulder. Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 30saves for his 30th win of the season and seventh shuout.

• What It Means: Montreal has won three straight games and improves to 34-23-7 for 77 points for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Hurricanes, who moved into seventh place on Thursday night. Montreal trails the Capitals by three points for fifth place.

• What’s Next: The Canadiens play the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday before returning home to play the Bruins on Tuesday night. They then hit the road again for games in St. Louis and Pittsburgh next Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

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