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Flyers 5, Panthers 4, OT @NHLdotcom

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Peter Forsberg no longer has to be embarrassed with the big zero in the goal column.

His first goal with Philadelphia took a little longer than expected, but - wow! - it could not have come at a better time.

Forsberg tied the game with 49 seconds left in regulation and Joni Pitkanen scored early in overtime to lead the Flyers to a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

"I'm happy with the goal and I finally got it out of the way," said Forsberg, who went seven games without one. "It got kind of annoying to not score for a long time."

After missing a penalty shot that could have tied it minutes earlier, Forsberg knocked one past Roberto Luongo after the Flyers pulled goalie Robert Esche.

Forsberg, the free-agent center who was the centerpiece of a major roster reshuffling, pumped his fists and was mobbed by his teammates.

"It came the hard way," Forsberg said.

The goal was reviewed, making Forsberg nervous.

"Their game-tying goal was the luckiest goal I think I've ever seen," Luongo said. "The puck was going wide and then it hit something and it was there for the tap-in."

The Flyers' celebration resumed 1:13 into overtime when Pitkanen scored from the left side.

Nathan Horton, Olli Jokinen and Kristian Huselius each scored power-play goals for the Panthers.

Martin Gelinas also scored and Luongo stopped 35 shots for the weary Panthers, who will practice this weekend in Kissimmee, Fla., with no home ice available because of Hurricane Wilma.

The storm already forced the postponement of Saturday's scheduled home game against Washington, and the Panthers aren't going to play at home until Nov. 9 against the New York Rangers.

The tough loss won't make it any easier to tolerate the unexpected, unwanted six-game road trip.

"I give a lot of credit to our guys (with) their families being back there," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "It shows a lot of character on their part."

Jeff Carter scored his first career goal and Simon Gagne added his eighth and ninth goals for the Flyers.

Philadelphia entered as one of the worst penalty-killing teams in the NHL and continued to struggle. The Flyers killed off only five of Florida's eight power plays.

Jokinen gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead midway through the second period when he knocked in his third goal of the season after Pitkanen was whistled for hooking.

Gelinas made it 3-1 on Florida's only even-strength goal.

After Gagne pulled the Flyers to 3-2 on Philadelphia's lone power-play goal, Philadelphia again was done in by penalties.

Keith Primeau was hit with a double minor in the waning minutes of the second period for holding and unsportsmanlike conduct. With the penalty carrying over into the third, the Panthers again capitalized.

"I guess I probably did get him with the stick, so then I lost it, but with the new rules, they've got to show a little bit of patience with us as well," Primeau said.

Huselius scored from the slot off a rebound, catching Esche out of position. Esche had 30 saves.

Gagne made it 4-3 when he scored with each team a man down. Forsberg assisted on both of Gagne's goals, giving him a league-high 14.

"Every time I pass to Simon, there's a bigger chance he's going to score than I'm going to score," Forsberg said. "I'm going to give it up to him every time even if I didn't have a goal."

Gelinas was called for freezing the puck in the crease with 4:28 left in the third, setting up Forsberg's penalty shot. With the crowd standing and going wild, Forsberg couldn't convert - shooting high and wide of the net.

"I thought it was in when I shot it," Forsberg said. "I didn't think I missed by a whole lot."

The Panthers wasted little time in scoring on the power play. Horton scored his sixth goal only 10 seconds after Derian Hatcher was called for hooking midway through the first.

Carter made it 1-1 on his first goal on the same ice where he led the Flyers' AHL affiliate Phantoms to the Calder Cup months earlier.

Notes: The Panthers will take Friday off and can stay with their families in Orlando. They'll practice in Kissimmee before flying out for Monday's game in Toronto. ... Florida will play 15 of its last 24 games at home. ... Luongo started his 11th straight game. ... The Flyers were 1-for-7 on the power play.

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