Nathan Horton scored 29 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Horton picked up a loose puck in front of the crease and poked the puck over the pads of Johan Holmqvist. The Panthers were 0-11 in overtime since last winning in the extra period last April 18 against Atlanta.
“We hadn’t won one (in overtime) in so long, it was nice to finally win,” Horton said. “I got a loose puck there at the end and I was able to shoot it. It was a big win for us.”
Ruslan Salei, Stephen Weiss, Bryan Allen and Ville Peltonen also scored for Florida, and Ed Belfour had 16 saves.
“On our bench we said, ‘Let’s just throw it at them and see what happens.’ We’ve got nothing to lose,” Weiss said. “We had to win this game. We’re playing desperate.”
Martin St. Louis scored two goals for Tampa Bay. Eric Perrin and Dan Boyle also scored, and Holmqvist stopped 25 shots as the Lightning snapped a three-game winning streak.
Florida tied the score at 4 during a power play at 11:28 of the third. Olli Jokinen sent a pass across the crease and Peltonen poked in the puck just inside the right post.
The Panthers tied the score at 3 on Allen’s goal. His shot from the right circle beat Holmqvist at 6:48 of the second.
The Lightning reclaimed the lead about five minutes later during a power play when Boyle’s shot deflected off a defender and went into the net.
“They just hung in there and kept going, kept coming,” St. Louis said.
Trailing 2-0, the Lightning scored three goals on seven shots in the first period, two of them by St. Louis.
St. Louis’ one-timer off a pass from Vaclav Prospal pulled Tampa Bay to 2-1 at 6:09. The Lightning tied the score on Perrin’s goal on a backhander at 11:03.
Tampa Bay went ahead at 16:28 as St. Louis took a pass from Boyle in front of the crease and slipped the puck past Belfour.
“I thought we showed a tremendous amount of resiliency coming back,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said.
“We just beat ourselves. We just didn’t play well in the third period on our end.”
Florida took a 1-0 lead on Salei’s power-play goal on a shot from the top of the right circle 1:47 into the game. Weiss’s goal at 4:02 made it 2-0.
“We had a real strong game tonight,” Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. “We got an early jump on them, then they came back. The big goal was by Peltonen to tie.”
Notes: Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier has 18 goals and 21 assists in his last 20 games. … Florida’s Rostislav Olesz, out with a shoulder injury, returned to the ice tonight for the first time since Feb.8.