MONTREAL (AP) _ A little rest helped Roberto Luongo get ready for a stellar
Luongo stopped 32 shots, and Olli Jokinen scored his second goal of the game
1:19 into overtime as the Florida Panthers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2
Jokinen, who scored in the first period to reach 20 goals for the second
straight season, flew down the left side and wristed a shot past Mathieu Garon
for his 21st goal, ending Florida's three-game losing streak.
``It's important for us to step up, especially after a 5-0 loss against
Toronto, so I think everybody responded well from that,'' Luongo said.
Luongo, a Montreal native, stopped 15 shots in the third when the Canadiens
held a 16-4 advantage and pressed for the go-ahead goal.
``He gives us a great chance to win every single night,'' Jokinen said. ``I
think last week he was a little bit tired and he had a couple of bad games, but
he got a night off against the Maple Leafs and we wanted to make sure he was
ready to play tonight. He's been outstanding all year.''
The Panthers ended their season series against Montreal unbeaten in four
``The other game here was a 1-0 game where they scored in the last minute on
a power play, and we should have won that one,'' Canadiens coach Claude Julien
said. ``Both games in Florida we had leads and we let them slip away, so we
were always in a position where we could have won, but for whatever reason, we
never seem to play our best hockey against that hockey club.
``They work hard, they've got confidence against us and they seem to play
their best hockey against us.''
Montreal's Yanic Perreault scored his 13th of the season 3:47 into the third
to tie it at 2.
Florida's Josh Olson scored in his NHL debut 1:40 into the period to put the
Panthers up 2-1. Florida won for just the second time in seven games (2-4-1).
``If we came out and lost the game, it wouldn't have felt so good,'' Olson
said of his first career goal. ``But Olli made a heck of a shot there at the
end to win it for us.''
Garon made 29 saves, and Francis Bouillon also scored for the Canadiens, who
had a three-game winning snapped but earned a point for the ninth time in 10
The Canadiens, who have missed the playoffs four of the last five seasons,
are seventh in the Eastern Conference with 83 points, one fewer than New
Alexei Kovalev returned to the Canadiens' lineup and made his Bell Centre
debut. He missed the final two games of Montreal's 3-1 road trip after
separating a shoulder in the first period of a win at Phoenix.
He was greeted by cheers when he hopped onto the ice for his first shift
with linemates Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder about 1:45 in.
Kovalev's second shift drew more cheers followed by a stunned gasp when he
showcased his skill with a flip pass that set up a scoring chance for Ryder.
``I don't think I've had anything like that in my life,'' Kovalev said of
Jokinen scored his 20th goal 8:32 in with the teams playing four-on-four.
Jokinen took a pass from Jay Bouwmeester off Montreal defenseman Andrei
Markov's left leg and one-timed a shot from the slot past Garon's glove.
Bouillon tied it 7:18 into the second when he took a pass from Saku Koivu
and drove a shot through Luongo's legs.
Olson, recalled from San Antonio of the AHL on Thursday, quieted the
enthusiastic crowd when he banged home Donald Audette's rebound from the edge
of the crease.
At 3:47, Perreault slapped Richard Zednik's rebound past Luongo to tie it at