Wolski scores in shootout as Panthers top Habs 3-2

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MONTREAL (AP) -- Wojtek Wolski scored in regulation and added the only goal of the shootout to help the Florida Panthers boost their playoff hopes with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Mikael Samuelsson also scored in regulation for Florida, which outshot Montreal 36-29. The Panthers ended a three-game winless streak and completed a four-game sweep of the season series with Montreal.

The win, combined with Washington's 5-1 loss at Buffalo, gave the Panthers a five-point lead over the Capitals for first place in the Southeast Division, with a game in hand.

Erik Cole and Louis Leblanc scored for the already-eliminated Canadiens, who have only one win in their last six games.

Trailing 2-1 in the third, Samuelsson tied the game with 7:12 to go when his long wrist shot sailed untouched past Carey Price.

The Panthers got on the board first when Wolski picked up a loose puck at his blue-line, skated down the right side and beat Price with a shot over his glove and off the crossbar with 6:56 left in the first.

Montreal tied it only 56 seconds later on a power play, with Max Pacioretty banking a puck off goalie Scott Clemmensen to Cole, who had an open side of the net to shoot at.

The Panthers outshot Montreal 13-4 in the middle period, but the Canadiens got the only goal as Frederic St. Denis took advantage of a turnover and sent Leblanc in alone to score only his fifth goal in 37 games.

Florida began a four-game road trip that also takes them to Minnesota, Columbus and Detroit.

Notes: Although the games are considered sellouts, there have been large numbers of empty seats at recent games in the Bell Centre. ... The Panthers sat out John Madden, Krystopher Barch, Mike Santorelli, Keaton Ellerby and Jack Skille.