Guillaume Latendresse, Michael Ryder and Christopher Higgins scored on the first three shots of the game and Montreal went on to a 5-1 win last night over host Florida.

Craig Anderson came on to replace Tomas Vokoun after the third goal came 5 minutes, 3 seconds into the game.

Florida had been 5-0-1 against Montreal the past two seasons. Cristobal Huet stopped 40 shots for Montreal.

Guillaume Latendresse put Montreal up just 1:42 into the game when Roman Hamrlik dug the puck from the boards and sent it cross-ice. Latendresse was waiting just to the right of the crease and swatted the puck behind Vokoun for his 11th goal of the season.

Ryder connected at 4:50 on a goal from Higgins and just 13 seconds later, Higgins sent a slap shot from the left circle through Vokoun's legs.

Florida, which hosts the Flyers tomorrow, avoided its first shutout of the season when Olli Jokinen flicked the puck over Huet's stick at 10:21 of the third for his 20th of the year. Florida had won four of five.

In other games:

* At Newark, N.J., Mike Mottau's first goal since October got the Devils even late in the third period, and Zach Parise came back from a sick day to score the only goal in the shootout in a 2-1 win over Buffalo.

* At Raleigh, N.C., Chad LaRose converted a penalty shot, and Eric Staal scored on the power play in the third period and Carolina beat Boston, 4-3. Cam Ward made 18 saves for the Hurricanes. Mike Commodore and Rod Brind'Amour had Carolina's other goals.

* At St. Louis, Milan Michalek scored with 3:05 left in the game and Evgeni Nabokov had 26 saves as San Jose edged the Blues, 1-0. *