SUNRISE, Fla. -- It sure felt like a road game on Panthers' home ice with thousands of Canadian snowbirds chirping, "Go Habs Go!" and loudly jeering the referees after disallowing two Canadien goals.
But it ended with the diehard Panthers fans getting the last laugh as they sprinkled the ice with plastic rats after a much-needed 4-1 victory over the Canadiens Sunday evening in front of a season-high 19,891 in the BB&T Center.
The combination of the Panthers' red-hot 'B' line of Brad Boyes, Aleksander Barkov and Brad Boyes, along with surprise starting goalie Scott Clemmensen -- who seems to save his best saves for the Habs -- was enough to snap Florida's three-game losing streak against their first-year division foes.
Barkov scored a goal and had another taken away from him when off-ice officials ruled that Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj had kicked in Brian Campbell's straightaway slapper rather than the Finnish teen poking in the rebound.
Campbell, who was sporting the silly, postgame hero hat, had no idea he was credited with the game-winning goal.
"I got it? I still didn't know that," smiled Campbell, who had a goal and an assist. "He's got a lot more coming for him, so I deserve it.
"Sometimes our fans deserve to stand up and be proud, which they should be. I feel like we're a team on the rise."
Boyes and defenseman Tom Gilbert had two assists apiece, while Bergenheim added the empty-net exclamation point with 17 seconds left for his fourth goal in the last three games.
"I really liked the way Bergenheim's been playing," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. "He's become one of my favorite players."
Clemmensen notched 21 saves to improve to 8-1 against Montreal, for his most victories against any NHL team. Clemmensen, who's 5-2 since taking over for sidelined starter Tim Thomas, also beat the Canadiens on Dec. 15 when he allowed one goal on a season-low 18 shots.
"I am aware of it, but I think it's a coincidence," Clemmensen said. "We've matched up well against them for whatever reason. ... I get a lot of help in front of me."
Thomas, who has missed eight straight games with a groin injury, was expected back, however, after skating Sunday morning, the coaching staff felt he could use another few days to completely heal.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead after one when skating 4-on-4, winger Tomas Fleischmann fed a streaking Dmitry Kulikov, who flicked it in at 6:10. It was Kulikov's second goal of the season and first in 28 games.
With 6:34 left in the first, the Canadiens appeared to tie it, however, seconds after Rene Bourque poked it home, the goal was waved off because Brian Gionta knocked the puck down at the blue line with a high stick.
The Canadiens tied it 1-1 at 2:56 of the second, when Brandon Prust's soft slot shot slithered in. Less than two minutes later, Campbell slapped in his fifth goal with Barkov providing the screen.
Boyes' spinning move in the neutral zone created space for Gilbert in the slot, where he placed a hard pass on Barkov's stick for a nifty redirection and a 3-1 lead after two.
At 7:23 of the third, Canadiens' Daniel Briere scored but the referee disallowed the goal because Alex Galchenyuk shoved Clemmensen.
NO OLYMPICS FOR THOMAS?
The Detroit Free Press reported via a source that the three goalies to be selected for Team USA in the upcoming Olympics will be Red Wings' Jimmy Howard, Sabres' Ryan Miller and Kings' Jonathan Quick, which would leave the oft-injured Thomas out in the cold.
Howard and Quick have also been out for several weeks with various injuries.
"There's not much I can do about it, so I won't put too much effort into thinking about that, then there's other guys that are hurt, too," Thomas said Sunday. "I don't know if that will impact their decision or not."
The 25-man roster for Team USA will be announced on Wednesday.
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