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Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev, right, scored the winning in the shootout on Sunday night against Florida goaltender Thomas Vokoun. ((Peter McCable/Canadian Press))

The Canadiens rebounded from an exhibition loss a night earlier to defeat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday night in Montreal.

Forward Alex Kovalev scored the only shootout goal and goaltender Carey Price denied Florida shooters Nathan Horton, Michael Frolik and Ville Peltonen.

After Tomas Vokoun stopped Montreal's first two attempts by David Desharnais and Andrei Kostitsyn, Kovalev slipped a backhand shot over the Panthers netminder.

On Saturday, the Ottawa Senators skated to a 3-1 victory over the Canadiens.

Montreal will be making its first cuts Monday morning with about 20 players expected to be sent back to either their junior clubs or the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. Regardless, some players heading to the minors have played well in the pre-season.

"I don't think they changed my mind, I was pretty set on what I wanted to do before training camp, but it definitely gives a lot of hope for the future," said coach Guy Carbonneau.

"Last year, the fact that we had no injuries was unbelievable and we hope it repeats itself this year. But we know now that we have depth at every position and we can move forward."

Both goaltenders had solid games for their respective teams Sunday.

Price made 36 saves in regulation time, while Vokoun stopped 33 Montreal shots.

Despite the loss, Vokoun, who sported a 5.93 goals-against average heading into Sunday night's game, had his best game of the pre-season.

Florida got off to a two-goal lead on goals by Anthony Stewart and Horton during in the first and second periods, respectively.

Stewart scored his second goal of the pre-season early in the first when he drilled a slap shot from the top of the right face-off circle over the glove of Price just 3:12 into the period.

Horton put Florida ahead by two after converting his first goal 4:23 into the second.

But Kostitsyn and Yannick Weber pulled the Canadiens even with power-play goals later in the second. Kostitsyn cut Florida's lead to one at 10:57.

Weber then earned the tying goal for the Canadiens on another power play, taking a pass from Tomas Plekanec and beating Vokoun with less the six minutes remaining in the second.

Kovalev believes Weber is one player who's earned a roster spot.

"I think he's ready," Kovalev said. "We had a lot of younger guys last year who needed six or seven games to get adjusted. But it's only the second game I've played with him and he looks comfortable already."

Price made a terrific stop just 1:17 into the overtime, sliding across to deny Peltonen from the right side of the crease.

With files from the Canadian Press