Shootout needed to end goaltender’s duel as Canadiens blank panthers 1-0

The 2-1 shootout advantage gave Montreal (14-6-3) a fourth win in its last five games. Only Ville Peltonen could score in the shootout for the Panthers (8-13-5), who have only two wins in their last 11 games, including a 5-1 win over Montreal last week in Florida. Olli Jokinen and Joe Nieuwendyk were both stopped, while Michael Ryder failed to score for Montreal.

The Canadiens’ 71st consecutive sellout crowd of 21,273 were given a battle between Montreal’s Cristobal Huet and Florida’s Alex Auld, who both earned shutouts.

For Florida, it was a second straight 1-0 loss. Auld stopped 27 of 28 shots in a 1-0 defeat Saturday against Atlanta.

Regulation time ended in a 0-0 draw despite a total of 71 shots being fired on goal as Montreal outshot the Panthers 37-34 in regulation and 39-36 overall.

There were a few close calls; Auld and Huet both heard the ping of pucks hitting their goalposts.

Four minutes into the opening period, Guillaume Latendresse drilled a shot off the post on a rush, while Panthers Stephen Weiss and Rostislav Olesz hit pipes in the second frame.

And both goalies made their share of big saves, as Florida outshot Montreal 13-8 in the first period and the Canadiens had an 18-11 advantage in the second.

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Both teams went all out for goals in the third, as Chris Gratton ripped a shot that went off Huet’s glove and over the net and Tomas Plekanec was stoned by Auld on a solo rush to the net.

Ryder, who has one goal in his last 14 games, backhanded one just by the post late in the third. Sergei Samsonov went a 13th game without scoring.

But the save of the night came in overtime, as Huet shot out a pad to stop Mike Van Ryn’s drive from the slot.

Huet earned his second shutout of the season and 13th of his career. Auld got his first of the second and second of his career.

Huet’s goals-against average fell to 1.93 and his save percentage to .943 – both best in the NHL.

Notes – Olesz returned for Florida after a four-game stint with AHL Rochester, while F Rob Grobke was also recalled. F Juraj Kolnik (groin) missed a fourth game. D Joel Kwiatkowski and D Ric Jackman didn’t play. . . . Montreal sat out D Janne Niinimaa and F Aaron Downey.