SUNRISE, Fla. — Bo Horvat came through with the winning goal on a milestone night.
Horvat, playing in his 300th NHL game, scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period, leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
"I think that was the icing on top," Horvat said. "The win feels that much better."
Horvat gave the Canucks their first lead when he took a nifty pass from Sven Baertschi in the left circle and sent a one-timer in at 6:11 of the final period.
"He couldn't have made a better pass on his backhand to me, and all I had to do was tap it in from there," Horvat said.
Antoine Roussel and Elias Pettersson also scored for the Canucks, and Anders Nilsson stopped 24 shots. Baertschi had two assists.
Petterson left the game after being pushed into the boards by Mike Matheson in the third period.
"That's a dirty play. The league is trying to protect the good young players and that's just a dirty play," Vancouver coach Travis Green said.
"We had two centermen go down and we were stuck with two
Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers, who remain winless through three games. James Reimer made 27 saves.
The Panthers had the lead twice but each time the Canucks were able to even the score within a couple of minutes.
"Every time we take the lead it's tough when the other team ties it up right after," Florida coach Bob Boughner said. "That's a pattern that's got to change."
The Panthers haven't been able to build on their late surge of last season, when they went 25-8-2 and missed the playoffs by a point.
"Once we get a lead, we've got to learn how to win," Boughner said. "Everything we worked hard for in the second half of last season, we've got to get some of that back."
With the score tied 1-1, Trocheck put the Panthers ahead on a shot from the right circle the got past Nilsson on the glove side with 2:40 left in the second.
Less than a minute later, Roussel was awarded a penalty shot after he was hooked by Bogdan Kiselevich. Roussel beat Reimer on the glove side at with 1:45 left to tie the score 2-2.
"It's very disappointing," Panthers
Huberdeau gave Florida a 1-0 lead with 7:29 left in the second when he poked in his own rebound.
Pettersson tied the score 1-1 on a power-play goal with 5:12 left in the period as his wrister from the right circle beat Reimer. Pettersson tied the Canucks' franchise record with a five-game point streak to start a career.
NOTES: The Panthers celebrated G Roberto Luongo becoming only the third goaltender in NHL history to play 1,000 games in a pregame ceremony. Luongo reached the milestone last April 5. Luongo, who also played 448 games for the Canucks, is the NHL's active wins leader (471) and stands fourth all-time in NHL wins. ... Kiselevich made his NHL debut for the Panthers. ... Roussel was activated from IR and made his season debut for Vancouver.
Canucks: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
Panthers: At Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
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Paul Gereffi, The Associated Press