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This article was published 29/1/2009 (4621 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Montreal Canadiens are in the midst of their worst slump in almost two years and are desperately looking for a way to prevent sinking any further.
Jay Bouwmeester and Stephen Weiss scored power-play goals in the first period and the Florida Panthers beat the Canadiens 5-1 on Thursday night.
Montreal ended a five-game road trip with four consecutive losses. The Canadiens, on their longest losing streak since March 2007, gave up at least four goals in every game of the trip.
"We have to find that desperation back in our game," defenceman Mike Komisarek said. "We need that one shift, one period, one game to get us back on track, and get us playing with confidence, with poise and playing together."
All-star starter Carey Price, making his third start since missing eight games because of an ankle injury, stopped 31 shots in the loss.
Price hurled his equipment bag in disgust in the locker-room before speaking to reporters after the game.
"You go from having the best time of your life to the worst time of your life," Price said. "We've got to pull together. We can't start pointing fingers now or you'll never dig yourself out of the hole."
Montreal had won the three previous meetings this season.
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Ottawa 3 St. Louis 1; Toronto 7 Colorado 4; New Jersey 4 Boston 3 (OT); Dallas 4 Detroit 2; Carolina 3 Tampa Bay 2; New York Islanders 5 Atlanta 4; Los Angeles 5 Chicago 2; and San Jose 2 Phoenix 0.
At Sunrise, Fla., Richard Zednik, Radek Dvorak and Michael Frolik also scored for the Panthers, 7-1-3 in their last 11 games. Weiss added two assists, and Cory Stillman helped set up three goals.
"Probably our best 60 minutes of the season from a system point of view and how we want to play," Florida Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "I think we've done a good job of playing to our identity in spurts and at times. Tonight it was the full 60 minutes. I thought we were good from the goaltender on out."
Dvorak's goal came on a penalty shot at 11:03 of the third period and gave Florida a 4-1 lead.
Robert Lang scored a power-play goal for Montreal.
Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves for Florida, improving to 6-1-2 in his last nine starts.
Bouwmeester opened the scoring at 3:54 with his team-leading seventh power-play goal. He put in a rebound after Price stopped Stillman s wrist shot from the wing.
Weiss scored at 15:36 on Florida's third power play of the first period.
After Florida came close to scoring a couple of times, Weiss' tip-in of Stillman's pass from behind the net bounced in off Price's pads.
"It's a funny game," Weiss said. "Sometimes the last few games it seems like the game is going really hard. It feels like you're going one way and the puck is going the other way. Tonight, kind of the opposite."
After Lang made it 2-1 at 53 seconds of the second period, Zednik restored Florida's two-goal lead. Zednik took David Booth's pass off the boards in the Montreal zone and skated around defenceman Josh Gorges. Zednik held the puck while being tripped by Price and scored into an open net while falling.
"It was a great effort on his part and a good goal," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "But we were still there at 3-1. Our confidence is really low right now and we seemed to go down instead of picking it up and helping each other after that. It was a tough goal for us."
Dvorak was awarded a penalty shot when he was hooked from behind by Komisarek while on a breakaway. He beat Price with a wrist shot to the glove side on the penalty shot.
Frolik then tipped in Weiss' pretty no-look backhand pass to make it 5-1 at 13:55.
"It was unbelievable," Frolik said. "I think he saw me before and he just threw it. It was right on my tape. It was an amazing pass."
Senators 3 Blues 1
At St. Louis, Peter Regin scored his first goal in the NHL with 1:57 left and lifted Ottawa over the Blues.
Maple Leafs 7 Avalanche 4
At Denver, Jason Blake's goal early in the third period snapped a tie, and Dominic Moore scored twice for Toronto, which broke a four-game losing streak by beating Colorado.
Devils 4 Bruins 3
At Boston, Jamie Langenbrunner scored his second goal of the game with 1:11 gone in overtime as New Jersey Devils recovered from blowing a two-goal lead to beat the Bruins.
Stars 4 Red Wings 2
At Detroit, Brad Richards had two assists a minute apart on power plays midway through the first period to lift Dallas over Detroit.
Hurricanes 3 Lightning 2
At Raleigh, N.C., Eric Staal scored with 1:36 remaining to lift Carolina past Tampa Bay.
Islanders 5 Thrashers 4
At Atlanta, Kyle Okposo had his first two-goal game in the NHL, and goalie Yann Danis survived a shaky third period in the New York Islanders' victory over the Thrashers.
Kings 5 Blackhawks 2
At Los Angeles, Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll scored less than two minutes apart in the first period, Patrick O'Sullivan added a short-handed goal, and the Kings earned their third straight victory..
Sharks 2 Coyotes 0
At San Jose, Calif., Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves to stay perfect since the all-star break, and Christian Ehrhoff scored an early goal in the Sharks' victory over Phoenix.