Winchester, Bjugstad lift Panthers past Canadiens

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm •  Published: December 15, 2013

MONTREAL (AP) — The Florida Panthers took advantage of a timely game against the weary Montreal Canadiens.

Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad scored in a 2:27 span in the second period, and Scott Clemmensen made 17 saves in Florida's 2-1 victory Sunday night.

After Montreal pulled within one in the third on Alex Galchenyuk's power-play goal, Florida killed two penalties — including 35 seconds of a 5-on-3.

"Our penalty killing came up big for us," Clemmensen said. "Our guys were diving in front, getting sticks up there, deflecting passes, being in a good position. It was great. That's how we win games."

The Canadiens have played 11 games in 19 days, including a 1-0 overtime victory over the Islanders in New York on Saturday night. The team touched down in Montreal in the wee hours Sunday, delayed by a snowstorm, and scratched their morning practice.

"We've played a lot of hockey in less than three weeks," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "This team is drained. They're empty. The lemon is squeezed of all its juice.

"When physically, you're tired, the execution is not quite there, and you make bad decisions. They go hand in hand.

"I'm not blaming (the players). I see what we're asking of them. Very demanding. They're athletes, they're human beings. They gave what they could in the circumstances. I know what they could give, and they gave it."

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