Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 5)

Florida leads 4-1

Game 1: Wednesday, December 4th
Game 2: Friday, December 6th
Game 3: Friday, January 24th
Game 4: Saturday, January 25th
Game 5: Friday, April 4th

Hurricanes 2

(17-23-5, 45 pts)

Panthers 3

(15-18-8, 47 pts)

7:30 PM ET, January 25, 2003

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 OT T
CAR 0 1 1 02
FLA 1 1 0 13

S. Weiss (Panthers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 39, Save Pct.: .951

V. Kozlov (Panthers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Weiss scores first goal since Dec. 21

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Stephen Weiss was as surprised as anyone when the Florida Panthers beat Carolina in overtime.

 Stephen Weiss

Weiss scored 3:40 into overtime to give Florida a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday night, the Panthers' first overtime win in 15 games against Carolina (1-5-9).

Weiss took a cross-ice pass from Brad Ference just inside the blue line and shot the puck between goalie Arturs Irbe's legs. It was Weiss's first goal since Dec. 21 and his first in overtime.

"Finally, tonight I got one," Weiss said. "He (Ference) hit me with the pass and I just put my head down and let her go. It was a bit of a shock it went in."

Viktor Kozlov and Olli Jokinen also scored for Florida, and Roberto Luongo made 39 saves.

"It was a huge win in terms of responding after last night's game (3-1 loss at Carolina) and the team we played wanted it very badly," Florida coach Mike Keenan said. "Spectacular goaltending, period. With a young team you need that type of goaltending."

Jeff Heerema and Ron Francis scored for Carolina, and Irbe stopped 19 shots.

"Of all the losses, I think I hate overtime losses the most," Irbe said. "We all feel like we should have won this game."

Carolina tied it at 2 at 8:37 of the third period, with Jeff O'Neill's shot deflecting off Francis and over Luongo.

"Coming into the series we knew we had to play better," Francis said. "We did last night, but you win one, of course, you want to win them both. It's disappointing we didn't get the two, but certainly the effort was there."

Florida took a 2-1 lead with 5:13 left in the second period. On a power play, Kozlov passed from the boards into the slot to Jokinen. The Carolina defense failed to react as Jokinen skated toward the net and fired the puck over Irbe's glove.

"I just drove the net and Koz made a nice pass," Jokinen said. "I tried to go upstairs and it went in. This was a huge win and a pretty good comeback."

Carolina tied it at 1 just over five minutes into the second period during a power play. Sami Kapinen took a shot from the right point that missed the net and went off the rear boards. The rebound came out to Heerema in front of the left circle and he poked in the puck before Luongo could get back to cover.

Florida took a 1-0 lead at 5:29 of the first period. Denis Shvidki took the puck behind the net and reversed it to Kozlov at the right circle. Kozlov's shot beat Irbe on the short side. It was the first opening period goal for the Panthers in 11 games. Carolina has lost nine of its past 10 games.

"Right now, obviously, we're a desperate team," Bret Hedican said. "We need two points every night."

Game notes
The Panthers have played 21 overtime games this season ... Novoseltsev extended his point streak to five games. ... Heerema was credited with his second career goal. His first came in his NHL debut Jan. 17 against New Jersey.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press