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Gionta lifts Canadiens to 2-1 win over Panthers

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 6, 2014 at 11:24 pm •  Published: January 6, 2014

MONTREAL (AP) — Carey Price closed out another win for the Canadiens.

With Montreal leading by one to start the third period, Price turned away 16 shots by the Panthers in the final frame to give Montreal a 2-1 victory over Florida on Monday night.

The Panthers outshot Montreal 16-10 in the final frame, but were repeatedly frustrated by Price, who made 26 saves on the night.

"The Panthers gave a big push in the third," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "Again, Carey Price was solid. He shut the door. There was no way in his mind the Panthers would score another against him. I really liked his reaction.

"He played really well. He was like a closer in baseball."

Price frustrated 11 different Panthers in the third period, including four shots by Sean Bergenheim, who had Florida's goal.

"We relied on him a little more than we would have liked to in the third," Brendan Gallagher said. "But he's done that all year. He's there for us when we need him."

The Canadiens took the lead at 15:46 of the second when captain Brian Gionta beat Tim Thomas in the roof of the net.

Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski started the play by giving the puck away softly behind the Florida net to Tomas Plekanec, who fed a wide-open Gionta for his seventh goal of the year.

Jovanovski was back in the Panthers' lineup after having hip surgery in April. He made his season debut on Saturday in a win over the Nashville Predators.

"It's his second game since March," Florida coach Peter Horachek said of Jovanovski, who missed 83 games with the injury. "It's late in the game, he fanned on the pass. That stuff is going to happen sometimes.

"I think he's done a good job for the amount of time he's been out. It's a process. I think he would like to have (that pass) back."

Montreal opened the scoring at 6:23 of the first period on the team's first shot on net.

David Desharnais took a pass from Max Pacioretty while crossing the blue line to start the play, fanned on the initial shot, but recovered to score his sixth goal of the year, on the backhand.

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