SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) _ Rookie Marcus Nilson, who assisted on the tying goal, scored his first NHL goal with 54.3 seconds left in overtime to lift the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Florida, breaking an 0-4-1 skein at home, is 1-2-18 in overtime while Montreal, 0-5-1 in its last six road games, drops to 0-4-11 in overtime.
Florida tied it with 3:27 left in the third period when rookie Mark Parrish, who leads NHL rookies with 24 goals, redirected Radek Dvorak’s pass past Canadiens goaltender Frederic Chabot.
Nilson received an assist on the tying goal for his first NHL point. He topped that in overtime when he fought off two Canadiens defensemen and swatted the bouncing puck past Chabot. Robert Svehla flicked the puck high in the air to set up the 21-year-old Swede.
The Canadiens broke a scoreless tie with a breakaway at 18:19 of the second period when Turner Stevenson lifted the puck over goalie Kirk McLean from an awkward angle. Florida tied it 34 seconds into the third period on Scott Mellanby’s slap shot from the right faceoff circle.
Brian Savage’s goal at 4:55 of the third period sent a wrist shot past McLean to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. Savage’s 15th goal was set up by Saku Koivu and Dainius Zubrus.
With one game remaining, it appears likely that the Canadiens will not produce a 20-goal scorer for the first time since the 1940-41 season. Martin Rucinsky leads Montreal with 16 goals.
The last time Montreal (31-38-12) lost so many games was 1983-84 (35-40-5).