SUNRISE, Fla. – Olli Jokinen scored three goals for his second career hat trick and the Florida Panthers broke a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

The Panthers hadn’t won since a 2-1 victory over Toronto on Nov. 2. They dropped 11 of 14 overall.

Chris Gratton and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for Florida, which had lost four of five at home since starting the season 4-0 there. Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. The Canadiens went 2-2 during a six-day road trip.

Ed Belfour stopped 27 shots for the Panthers.

David Aebischer made 34 saves for Montreal, which missed a chance for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Jokinen, who hadn’t scored since Florida’s last victory, gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead 37 seconds into the middle period when his soft wrist shot went through Aebischer s legs.

After Plekanec cut the lead to 2-1, Jokinen restored the Panthers’ two-goal margin at 16:53.

He took a pass from Nathan Horton across the crease and waited patiently before lifting the puck over Aebischer.

Bouwmeester made it 4-1, scoring a power-play goal at 19:35 of the second period. His wrist shot went through the legs of two Montreal players and beat Aebischer low to the glove side.

Belfour was credited with the 33rd assist of his 18-year career.

Jokinen completed the hat trick with 31.5 seconds left in the game when he poked home a loose puck in the crease.

His other three-goal game was Nov. 25, 2005, against Pittsburgh.

Gratton scored the only goal of the first period when his quick wrist shot from the circle went over Aebischer’s glove.

Montreal outshot Florida 13-7 in the first period, but Belfour came up with several big saves. He was particularly strong during a power play when he stopped five shots.

Wild 7, Predators 6

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Brian Rolston’s shootout goal was the difference in the Minnesota Wild’s 7-6 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Rolston scored in the second extra round of the tiebreaker after Nashville’s Paul Kariya squandered a chance to win the game with a penalty shot with 38 seconds left in overtime.

After Rolston’s goal gave the Wild a 3-2 lead in the shootout, Josef Vasicek couldn’t find the net.

The Predators scored three goals in each of the first two periods, but the Wild responded with five goals of their own over the final 40 minutes.


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