MONTREAL (AP) -Nathan Horton's late goal earned Florida one point and Jozef Stumpel's shootout score secured another. Tomas Vokoun's strong play in goal was what gave the Panthers any chance at the two points and the win.
Horton tied the game with 10.2 seconds left in regulation and Stumpel scored the only shootout goal to give the Panthers a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Vokoun made 36 saves and stopped shootout attempts by Chris Higgins, Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev.
"We were still in it because of our goalie," Horton said. "He played unbelievable and he gave us a chance to have that opportunity at the end."
Stumpel, Florida's third shooter, beat Cristobal Huet after Ville Peltonen and Horton had failed before him to give the Panthers the win.
"It's a team sport and sometimes you help your team, and sometimes your team helps you," Vokoun said.
Horton's tying goal came just seconds after Montreal killed a late penalty.
"It's nice to get two points when you didn't play very good," Horton said.
Kovalev got his second goal of the season on a power play 2:53 in and it nearly held up as the game's only score.
Huet, who made 24 saves, protected the one-goal lead for 56:56, falling just short of recording his first shutout since last Nov. 28, a 1-0 win over the Panthers. That game was decided on a shootout goal by Canadiens captain Saku Koivu following a scoreless tie through overtime.
"Obviously that's a little risky to keep it at 1-0," Huet said. "We outplayed them the whole game, pretty much. We had a lot of good scoring chances and we just couldn't find a way to beat Vokoun."
Panthers captain Olli Jokinen played his 300th consecutive regular season game, tying Robert Svehla's franchise record. Florida continues its three-game Canadian road trip Thursday in Toronto.
"I think I'll have to stay in the room the next couple of days to make sure I'll be able to play in Toronto," Jokinen said.
With Florida defenseman Mike Van Ryn off for holding, Kovalev picked up a rebound to the left of the net and moved the puck to his forehand before flipping a shot over Vokoun's right pad.
Huet made a sensational glove save on Richard Zednik's backhand 8:20 into the second.
The game was nearly the third straight 1-0 result between the teams at the Bell Centre. Jay Bouwmeester scored the only goal in the Panthers' 1-0 win in Montreal on Feb. 13.
Patrick Carpentier was introduced before the game as the new No. 10 driver for Gillett Evernham Motorsports, the NASCAR team recently purchased by Canadiens owner George Gillett.
Carpentier was presented with a personalized Canadiens jersey by Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur, whose No. 10 was retired by Montreal.
Notes: Jokinen remains tied with Scott Mellanby for the franchise's career points lead with 354. Jokinen's 156 goals with Florida ranks second, one behind Mellanby's team record. ... Alex Auld, now with Phoenix, recorded the shutout loss for Florida last season, and veteran Ed Belfour posted his only shutout of the season - 76th of his career - in the Panthers' win. ... Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau sat LW Guillaume Latendresse and C Steve Begin. Rookie C Mikhail Grabovski and LW Garth Murray dressed in their place.
|PPG - Alex Kovalev (2) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (1), Michael Ryder (3)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Nathan Horton (4) ASST: Cory Murphy (5), Stephen Weiss (4)|
1 - 1 Tie
|1||C. Higgins||V. Peltonen||0 - 0|
|2||S. Koivu||N. Horton||0 - 0|
|3||A. Kovalev||J. Stumpel||0 - 1|
|Mike Van Ryn Holding against Alex Kovalev|
|Richard Zednik Holding the stick against Mike Komisarek|
|Ruslan Salei Tripping against Bryan Smolinski|
|Andrei Kostitsyn Holding against David Booth|
|Mathieu Dandenault Hooking against Mike Van Ryn|
|Richard Zednik Slashing against Chris Higgins|
|Noah Welch Fighting (maj) against Tom Kostopoulos|
|Tom Kostopoulos Fighting (maj) against Noah Welch|
|Nathan Horton Slashing against Michael Ryder|
|Mike Komisarek Slashing against Richard Zednik|