The clock showed 3.7 seconds when Jay Bouwmeester's shot from the left point appeared to hit Ryan Parent's skate before sliding into the net, to gasps from the Wachovia Center crowd.

The Florida Panthers had tied the game and forced an overtime.

"It's another way to lose a game," center Danny Briere said after last night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Panthers, the Flyers' 10th consecutive defeat. "It's frustrating. No doubt about it. At the end there, you have to do everything in your power to prevent that from happening. I'm sure the guys on the ice were trying to do that."

Scott Hartnell's high clearing attempt was knocked down by Panthers defenseman Steve Montador, who slid the puck to Bouwmeester.

"I should have ate it at my skates or just held it in the corner there; I didn't know how much time was left," Hartnell said. "He made a great play at the blue line. And they got it to the net.

"I'm super frustrated. It was a bad play by me because I wasn't hard on the puck. It cost us a game and a point."

Olli Jokinen won it with a power play goal in overtime, but it was Bouwmeester's shot that ruined one of the best up-tempo games the Flyers have played during this monthlong losing skid.

And to make it all the worse, Flyers center Mike Richards tore his left hamstring late in the game in a collision with Bouwmeester and the net. He will miss at least three weeks, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

"We're just going to have to deal with it right now," Holmgren said. "We're in a tough spot. There's no sense waving the white flag. Everyone else is just going to have to pick it up."

Holmgren said Richards' injury won't alter the Flyers' strategy going into Tuesday's trade deadline. They are looking for both a defenseman and a forward.

Richards leads the Flyers with 23 goals and 66 points. He has not missed a game this season.

Flyers coach John Stevens was almost at a loss for words. Much like the Feb. 16 game in Montreal, the Flyers did just about everything perfectly. They even outshot the Panthers, 41-25.

"This hurts. We did a lot of great things in the game," Stevens said. "We didn't score . . . but we created. It comes down to the end, and it's a chance to win the hockey game. The little things have to get done there, and they didn't, and the puck ends up in our net."

Despite a scoreless opening period, the Flyers played one of their best sessions this month, as there was a discernible sense of purpose to every shift. Briere made something happen every time he was on the ice, and R.J. Umberger had a couple of good chances on Craig Anderson.

Even during a brief five-on-three Florida power play, the Flyers got a turnover, and at 5-on-4, Hartnell, coming out of the box, put a shot off Anderson's logo. The Flyers generated offense the entire period, initiating instead of reacting, which has been a huge problem much of the season.

Antero Niittymaki faced 10 shots, and three of them were quality chances, with Nathan Horton trying his hardest to jam the puck under the Flyers goalie from various angles in the crease.

In a rare moment, the Flyers actually played with a lead for a good portion of the game. It happened late in the second period when Briere snapped the power play's 0-for-19 skid with his 22d goal at 16 minutes, 20 seconds.

Briere went behind the Florida net to get a dump-in from Jeff Carter, wheeled around the left post, and quickly shot the puck through traffic for his first goal in six games. He has just three in the last 16.

It was the first Flyers lead since Steve Downie scored against Tampa Bay on Feb. 14. Officially, the Flyers have led just 36:12 in the last 10 games.

Loose pucks.

Left winger Patrick Thoresen, claimed off waivers from Edmonton on Friday, is wearing Keith Primeau's old number (25).

Contact staff writer Tim Panaccio at 215-854-2847 or tpanaccio@phillynews.com.