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MONTREAL (AP) — Antti Niemi experienced two firsts in net for the Montreal Canadiens.First [url=http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-nicklas-backstrom-jersey]Nicklas Backstrom Jersey[/url] , Niemi made a career-high 52 stops as the Canadiens extended their win streak to three games with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.Niemi finished one save shy of the Canadiens’ franchise record for saves in a game by a goaltender.With seconds ticking off the clock in the third period, the Bell Centre fans chanted Niemi’s name after every big save.“I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that before,” Niemi said. “So it’s pretty overwhelming. It’s great after all my ups and downs to have a couple of good games and be able to do that.“It’s great. I don’t know what to say.”The Panthers fired 84 pucks at Niemi’s goal, with 53 hitting the target and only one making it past the backup goalie. The franchise record is 53 saves held by Carey Price (Nov. 14, 2009) and Wayne Thomas (Mar. 10, 1974).Florida lost its seventh game in a row, extending the team’s longest skid of the season. Their last victory was on Dec. 31, against the Detroit Red Wings.The 35-year-old Niemi, who has won his last three starts, made 21 saves in the third period alone to improve to 8-4-1 on the season. His previous personal save record was 48, set on March 3 [url=http://www.officialflames.com/authentic-adidas-james-neal-jersey]James Neal Jersey Womens[/url] , 2017, in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins.“He played unbelievable tonight. It was crazy,” Jordie Benn said. “Nemo stole the game. They had some really close-call looks right in tight. Watching him in net tonight, the guys were going nuts on the bench. It was good to see.”Niemi set the tone with a solid glove save on rookie Juho Lamikko midway through the first period.At the start of the third, Niemi made a big right pad save on Aleksander Barkov to preserve Montreal’s two-goal lead, and another minutes later on Henrik Borgstrom.“He’s the guy who’s literally the hardest working guy in practice,” said Max Domi, who snapped a 17-game goalless drought. “He works on his game on a daily basis. It’s a very well-deserved performance by him. He’s been in this league so long for a reason. He showed that tonight.”Mike Hoffman was the only Panthers player to beat Niemi. He scored a highlight-reel, one-handed goal on a breakaway at 14:11 of the first period, following a bad giveaway by Canadiens center Michael Chaput.Montreal answered 29 seconds into the second period when captain Shea Weber fired a slap shot past James Reimer on the power play, a rare goal for the Canadiens with the man advantage.Claude Julien’s team had not scored on their previous 27 power-play opportunities at Bell Centre [url=http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-t.j.-oshie-jersey]T.J. Oshie Jersey[/url] , dating to Dec. 1.Phillip Danault gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead at 10:44 of the second, a no-look backhand shot after Weber’s shot bounced off the end boards behind Reimer.Domi scored his first goal since Dec. 9 when he beat an out-of-position Reimer at 16:53 with a wrist shot from the slot.Jesperi Kotkaniemi added another for Montreal with 5:38 left in the third period before Gallagher scored into the empty net with 1:36 remaining in the encounter.“Tough road trip obviously physically and mentally,” said Panthers coach Bob Boughner. “We asked the guys to come out tonight with our best effort and get rewarded. We did everything except putting the puck in the back of the net. You have to give Niemi a ton of credit.”The Canadiens were playing in the second half of back-to-back games after a 3-2 overtime victory in Boston on Monday.Roberto Luongo was expected to start between the pipes for Florida but Reimer got the nod instead in a game-time decision. Reimer stopped 23 shots in defeat.Notes: The Panthers outshot the Canadiens 53-28. . Jordie Benn earned his 100th NHL point in his 439th game. . Defenseman Karl Alzner was sent down to the AHL’s Laval Rocket.UP NEXTPanthers: Home against Toronto on Friday.Canadiens: At Columbus on Friday. MONTREAL (AP) It was only a matter of time before the relentless Pittsburgh Penguins pulled away from the Montreal Canadiens and held them at bay.Patric Hornqvist’s second goal of the game gave the Penguins the lead in the third period, and they went on to beat the Canadiens 5-3 Thursday night.Pittsburgh fell behind 2-0 early before scoring tying it late in the first period, and taking the lead in the second. The Canadiens then quickly tied it again.”It wasn’t looking good early but we stuck with it,” Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said. ”We generated some really good chances in this game. Second half of the first and the rest of the game, we played with more urgency and desperation and the result took care of itself.”Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust also scored for Pittsburgh, which remain tied with Washington in points atop the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals, however, currently hold the tiebreaker with two games in hand.Tristan Jarry made 17 saves for his 14th win of the season while starter Matt Murray remains sidelined with a concussion.Artturi Lehkonen [url=http://www.officialhockeyjetsshop.com/authentic-adidas-blake-wheeler-jersey]Authentic Blake Wheeler Jersey[/url] , Paul Byron and Nicolas Deslauriers scored for Montreal, and Antti Niemi stopped 34 shots in his first regulation loss since Feb. 14.Hornqvist put Pittsburgh in front for good with 7:36 remaining in the third period by deflecting Carl Hagelin’s shot past Niemi. Rust added some insurance with an empty-netter with 1:53 left.”Give them credit. They shut us down for the latter part of the game and eventually took it over,” said Canadiens coach Claude Julien. ”They’re Stanley Cup champions for a reason. … As the game went on, we got worse offensively. When they get scoring chances, they score. They shot from everywhere tonight.”Montreal jumped ahead early in the first period with scores from Lehkonen and Byron.Lehkonen deflected Jeff Petry’s shot past Jarry at 3:13 for his fourth goal in four games, and Byron made it 2-0 at 6:31 as he knocked in a rebound on the power play for his 17th.The Penguins had two shots on net at that point, but the deficit seemed to act as a wake-up call.Kessel got Pittsburgh on the board at 10:05 on a 2-on-1 with Rust after a giveaway by Petry in his own zone.Hornqvist tied it 2-2 when his centering pass to Hagelin in front of goal went off Byron’s stick and trickled past his own goalie.It was all Pittsburgh in the second period as they outshot the Canadiens 18-4, but they only had one goal to show for their efforts.Malkin put the Penguins in front 3-2 at 10:30 with a one-timer from the faceoff dot while playing with the man advantage.”Line after line they come at you,” Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher said. ”You make a mistake and you spend a couple of minutes in your own zone. That wears you down as the game goes on. … We’re disappointed with the result but we were playing one of the best teams in the league. You can see why. It was a struggle for us tonight to create offense.”Montreal tied it when Deslauriers found himself all alone in the slot two minutes later. The 27-year-old beat Jarry top shelf for his eighth.NOTES: Penguins F Sidney Crosby had an assist on Malkin’s goal to move two away from 800 in his career.UP NEXTPenguins: At the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.Canadiens: At Toronto on Saturday night.
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