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Florida at Montreal

Markov's two goals lead Canadiens over Panthers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MONTREAL -- After battling knee injuries for two seasons, Andrei Markov is playing like his old, dominant self.

The veteran defenseman scored a pair of goals -- his first in only 17 games played since Nov. 9, 2010 -- as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Tuesday night.

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"Every goal and win is special," said Markov, who has endured two surgeries on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. "I'm happy to be back and happy to be healthy and I'm just enjoying playing, especially here in front of our fans."

It was also a big night for 18-year-old Alex Galchenyuk, who scored his first NHL goal.

His tip of a Brandon Prust shot at 14:25 of the second period drew a loud ovation from the Bell Centre spectators, who see the third overall pick from the June draft as a future star.

"To have a crowd like that was just phenomenal," said Galchenyuk. "Every single guy [on the bench] congratulated me, but it was only the second period and I had to stay focused.

"It was nice to get the first one out of the way."

Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal (1-1-0), while Raphael Diaz and Max Pacioretty each had two assists.

Tomas Kopecky scored for Florida (1-2-0), which was coming off a 4-0 loss in Ottawa on Monday night and looked lifeless playing a third game in four nights.

Markov was Montreal's top defenseman before his injuries and the team struggled without him the last two seasons, falling to last place in the Eastern Conference last season.

The knee held up as he played in the KHL during the lockout and he was among the few Canadiens that looked strong in a season-opening 2-0 loss to Toronto on Saturday.

He was even better in his second game back, finding the open man and moving the puck with crisp, precision passes.

Coach Michel Therrien said he played like a general on defense.

"He scored two goals, and at the other end of the ice he controlled the play," said Therrien.

It was the first win for Therrien since starting his second stint as head coach in Montreal, but when Price brought him the game puck, he passed it on to Marc Bergevin, who got his first victory as general manager.

"It was more important for him," said Therrien.

The coach opted to make a healthy scratch of Lars Eller and move Galchenyuk to his natural position at centre on the third line. He also put Brendan Gallagher on that line with tough guy Prust and the energetic little winger got his first NHL point on Galchenyuk's goal.

"I thought Alex played well," said Therrien. "He played more his type of game than he did in the first one.

"Sometimes when you play with another young guy you play your game more instead of trying to please the veterans."

Galchenyuk, who helped the U.S. win gold at the world junior championship only three weeks ago, is making a case to stay in Montreal the rest of the season instead of returning to the junior Sarnia Sting.

Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen went into the game with a 6-0 career record against Montreal, but it was Carey Price who got the win as the Canadiens had a 33-28 shot advantage.

Both Markov goals came on the power play.

After Plekanec scored from the slot on a feed from Brian Gionta 3:26 into the game, Markov blasted one in from the slot during a two-man advantage at 13:24.

Kopecky got one back with a man advantage 4:33 into the second period as he one-timed Tomas Fleischmann's pass in from the right circle.

Markov got his second on a low blast from the point at 8:31.

With restricted free agent P.K. Subban still holding out, the Canadiens lack a pure shooter from the point on the power play. Markov and Diaz formed an efficient pair even though both normally prefer passing to shooting.

"Everybody has to be a shooter," said Markov. "It's about feeling. If you see the traffic in front of the net, why not?"

The Canadiens killed off a five-minute penalty that included two minutes down two men in the third period.

Notes

  • A pre-game video was shown honouring Radio-Canada broadcaster Richard Garneau, who died this week.
  • Canadiens legend and 1945 NHL MVP Elmer Lach turned 95 on Tuesday.
  • Eller was sent to the pressbox as Gallagher moved onto the third line for his NHL debut.
  • Newly named captain Ed Jovanovski was scratched.
  • Kris Versteeg is out with a groin injury, which put Drew Shore into his first NHL game.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Andrei Markov scores two goals, his first in two seasons, as the Canadiens defeat the Panthers. (Getty Images)
Andrei Markov scores two goals, his first in two seasons, as the Canadiens defeat the Panthers. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Florida (1-2-0)0101
Montreal  (1-1-0) «2204
Three Stars
A. Galchenyuk
MON


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
A. Markov
MON


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
C. Price
MON


Saves: 27
Save Pct.: .964

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:26 - Tomas Plekanec (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Gionta, Diaz
13:24Power Play - Andrei Markov (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Pacioretty, Desharnais
2ND PERIOD
04:33Power Play - Tomas Kopecky (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Fleischmann, Campbell
08:31Power Play - Andrei Markov (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Diaz, Pacioretty
14:25 - Alex Galchenyuk (1), Tip-In. Assist: Prust, Gallagher
3RD PERIOD
None
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
12:01Campbell, 2 min, Holding
12:21Weiss, 2 min, Closing Hand on Puck
17:49Gorges, 2 min, Tripping
2ND PERIOD
01:18Diaz, 2 min, Holding
03:57Desharnais, 2 min, Tripping
07:26Ellerby, 2 min, Tripping
08:50Moen, 2 min, Tripping
10:44Prust, 2 min, Slashing
12:19Weiss, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
26.0Fleischmann, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
03:13White, 2 min, Instigator
03:13White, 5 min, Fighting
03:13White, 10 min, Gross Misconduct
03:13White, 10 min, Game Misconduct
03:13Fleischmann, 2 min, Boarding
06:37Markov, 2 min, Interference
09:40Ellerby, 2 min, Hooking
13:20Bourque, 2 min, Holding the stick
Shots On Goal
 123T
FLA1010828
MON1581033
 
Other Games
TB 4 Final
Car 1
Wpg 4 Final
Wash 2
Phi 0 Final
NJ 3
Dal 2 Final
Det 1
Nash 3 Final
Min 1
StL 2 Final
Chi 3
SJ 6 Final
Edm 3
LA 1 Final
Colo 3