Roberto Luongo left one poor team for another.

The Florida Panthers' goalie, traded back to his adopted home by the Vancouver Canucks two weeks ago, was ordinary on Sunday, which was still better than either team has been this season.

The last thing anyone needed from the Canucks and Panthers was extra hockey. But after blowing the lead twice in the third period, the Canucks maintained their slim playoff hopes when Nicklas Jensen scored in the shootout to give Vancouver a 4-3 win.

Sixteen seconds after Canuck defenceman Alex Edler took a needless holding penalty, Panther Jimmy Hayes had tied it 3-3 on a power-play rebound with 1:35 remaining in regulation time. It was the second blown lead of the period for Vancouver, which has lost seven games this season in which it led after 40 minutes.

Alex Burrows, who didn't have a goal in his first 35 games this season, scored his third in three games to put Vancouver ahead 3-2 at 5:34 of the third period. The Canuck winger scored on his second rebound attempt after Luongo stopped Edler's point shot during a Vancouver power play.

It was Burrows' third point of the night and sixth in three games since rookie Nicklas Jensen was placed on his line, opposite centre centre Henrik Sedin.

The six points on this road trip are one more than Burrows had in the first five months of the season.

The go-ahead goal was a reprieve for Edler, whose miserable season manifested itself again on the turnover that led to Florida's tying goal a minute earlier.

The defenceman's pass was intercepted by Panther Quinton Howden, who took the puck hard to the net. Canuck goalie Eddie Lack stopped Howden, but was slow to recover his position and left enough room at the far post for Vincent Trocheck to tuck the puck in at 4:19.

Edler's reprieve, however, turned out to be temporary.

The game between struggling teams was not pretty to watch – so maybe the 7,000 or 8,000 people who actually showed up at BB&T Arena knew something. The best save was made by Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who kicked off the goal-line Colby Robak's batted shot with about nine minutes remaining.

Except for five lively minutes, the first two periods looked like a battle of attrition between two teams going nowhere. Scoring chances were even more sparse than spectators. If there were anyone to cheer, a crisp pass would have been applauded. The boredom was broken briefly late in the first period by an unexpected outbreak of scoring.

With Chris Higgins penalized for interference, the Panthers' power play, ranked 30th and last in the NHL, opened scoring at 16:28 when Canuck penalty-killers collapsed in front of the net and Tom Gilbert's uncontested shot from between the circles was tipped in by Hayes.

But another Florida deflection evened the score only 1:14 later when Canuck Dan Hamhuis' point shot – after Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows joined forces to win an offensive-zone faceoff – was deflected in by Panther Colby Robak's skate.