PHILADELPHIA – Peter Forsberg tied the game in the final minute of regulation and Joni Pitkanen scored early in overtime to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Only 49 seconds away from their second straight loss, Forsberg instead picked a perfect time to score his first goal of the season. 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 that was the centerpiece of a major roster reshuffling, pumped his fists and was mobbed by his teammates.

The 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.

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 against Florida. The Flyers killed off only five of 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 Carter cut it to 3-2 on his first goal on the same ice where he led the Flyers’ AHL affiliate Phantoms to the Calder Cup months earlier, 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.

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

Gagne pulled the Flyers to 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.

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.

The Panthers wasted little 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.

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.

AP-ES-10-27-05 2157EDT


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