MONTREAL — Florida’s Aaron Ekblad broke his stick on an awkward slap shot that sneaked by Montreal goaltender Carey Price in overtime, giving the Panthers a 4-3 win against the NHL-leading Canadiens on Tuesday.
Coincidentally, Florida’s state rival Tampa Bay also recorded a 4-3 road win, edging Detroit on a late Nikita Kucherov goal.
In the key Western Conference meeting, Winnipeg cruised to a 4-0 win over Chicago, cutting the Blackhawks’ lead in the Central Division to four points.
The gap atop the Metropolitan Division was also four points after the New York Rangers scored seven times in a big win at Vancouver.
Florida’s winner came as Ekblad wound for a shot from the right hash marks, but his stick snapped and the puck slid slowly toward the net. It deflected off the boot of a defenseman before sliding past Price 2:59 into overtime.
Alex Petrovic, Kyle Rau and Denis Malgin also scored for the Panthers.
Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Paul Byron had goals for Montreal, which has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov scored his second goal of the game with 1:10 left to give the Lightning a 4-3 win at Detroit.
The Lightning won despite losing captain Steven Stamkos to an apparent right leg injury midway through the first period.
Stamkos and defenseman Nikita Nesterov also scored for Tampa Bay.
Defenseman Ryan Sproul got his first career goal and had an assist, and Frans Nielsen and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for the Red Wings.
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season as the Jets downed Chicago 4-0.
Rookie Patrik Laine scored his NHL-leading 12th goal, rookie defenseman Josh Morrissey scored his first career goal, while forwards Chris Thorburn and Nic Petan also got their first scores of the season for the Jets.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was replaced after letting in four goals on 22 shots.
New York’s Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller scored two goals each to lead the Rangers past Vancouver 7-2.
Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves, Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists, Nick Holden had a goal and an assist and Brandon Pirri also scored for New York, which has won eight of its past nine — with the lone loss in that stretch coming at home against the Canucks a week earlier.