Panthers battle Habs in Montreal

The Montreal Canadiens look to rebound from a season- opening loss on Tuesday night as they play host to the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens were bested 2-1 by the rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, not getting on the board until Brian Gionta's goal with 6:09 to play in the third. However, they only managed seven shots in the frame and 22 in the game.

Carey Price made 24 saves as the Habs went 1-for-5 on the power play. Montreal opened the season without defenseman P.K. Subban, currently an unsigned restricted free agent.

"We came out a little bit slow," said Gionta. "We took some penalties because we weren't moving our feet. But we started to come into our own in the third and started to get some pressure. But we just ran out of time."

Montreal lost its first game under its new general manager and head coach. The Canadiens fired Jacques Martin after 32 games last season and hired Michel Therrien to replace interim coach Randy Cunneyworth during the offseason.

Marc Bergevin, meanwhile, took over GM duties from Pierre Gauthier.

"There was a lot of emotion for that game," said Therrien. "We took some penalties that took momentum out. I thought the team was well prepared. ... It's just a matter of keep working at it and I know we're going to be better."

The Habs open this season with two straight and seven of nine at home.

The Panthers will play their second road game of the season after dropping a 4-0 decision in Ottawa on Monday night. That blanking came just two days after Florida opened up the campaign with a 5-1 home win over Carolina.

Jose Theodore gave up all four goals on 37 shots as the Panthers failed to open a season with two straight wins for the first time since 2005-06.

"Obviously we have to play a better road game and get a more well-rounded effort," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said.

Theodore, a former second-round pick by Montreal in the 1994 draft, made 41 saves in Florida's season-opening win, though Scott Clemmensen is likely to draw his first start of the season in this game.

Florida has been without forward Kris Versteeg for the first two games due to a lower-body injury and he was placed on injured reserve Monday. The right winger notched 54 points a season ago.

The Panthers had lost 11 of their previous 14 against the Canadiens before sweeping the season series for the first time in franchise history in 2011-12. Florida won three of the four encounters by just one goal, including both in Montreal.