Byron nets pair as Canadiens beat Panthers for first pre-season win

Paul Byron found the back of the net twice as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 at the Bell Centre

MONTREAL — It took seven pre-season games but the Montreal Canadiens finally have a win.

Paul Byron scored two goals as the Canadiens downed the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Friday night.

"Our team doesn’t worry too much about the wins or losses," said Byron. "The more worrying thing was the way we were playing.

"Sometimes you can play a great game and lose and you can still draw positives from it, but I don’t think we played with much intensity the first few games."

Andrew Shaw also scored as the unit of Byron, Shaw and Philip Danault shone for the Canadiens (1-6) and looked like they could bean effective option as a second or third line once the regular season starts.

"Andrew and I both knew it was a big opportunity for us to get more ice time and offensive potential, so we wanted to make the most of it," said Byron. "Phil is so stable and solid. He’s easy to play with."

"I think we had good chemistry," said Shaw. "We all like to play at a fast pace.

"It just worked out for us tonight."

Evgenii Dadonov scored for Florida (3-2). Shots were even at 23-23.

A three-man rush saw Danault feed Shaw for a pass in front that looked to go in off Byron’s skate at 13:32.

The Panthers tied it at 17:00 on a strange one, as Dadonov got behind the Montreal defence and was shoved from behind by Jeff Petry into goalie Charlie Lindgren. Dadonov, Lindgren and the puck slid into the net and it was ruled a goal even after a Montreal challenged for goaltender interference.

"I think Petry made a good play on that," said Lindgren. "I made the save initially and (Dadonov) pushed the puck in with his hands is what I thought. But it’s not my call if it’s a goal or not."

Byron struck again shorthanded at 10:25 of the second frame as he took a feed from Andreas Martinsen on a 2-on-1 and slipped the puck between Roberto Luongo’s pads.

A long pass off the boards by Jordie Benn sent Shaw in alone to score on a backhand shot 1:13 into the third.

Lindgren returned from a lower body injury. Zach Fucale dressed as the backup but didn’t play.

After the game, Fucale, goalie Michael McNiven and forward Nikita Scherbak were assigned to the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket. More cuts are to be made after the Canadiens’ final pre-season game Saturday night against Ottawa.