Panthers 4, Flyers 1
PHILADELPHIA -- The Florida Panthers arrived at the Wachovia Center angry, and while winning a game won't make their injured teammate heal any faster, at least they were able to leave with two points.
The Panthers scored three power-play goals and Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 of 32 shots as the Florida Panthers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, 4-1, to win for the fourth time in the last five games.
Nathan Horton scored twice and Stephen Weiss had a goal and 3 assists to lead the Panthers. Michael Frolik had a goal and an assist.
The loss was the Flyers' fourth straight and 14th in the last 17 games. They now are 2-7-1 under coach Peter Laviolette, who replaced John Stevens on Dec. 4.
Beside the game, the Flyers also lost goaltender Brian Boucher
to a hand injury that likely will sideline him until after the Christmas break.
scored the Flyers' lone goal. It's the eighth time in the last 12 games the Flyers have been held to one goal or less.
"I look at our team and we're having a hard time scoring goals right now," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said, "and I look at our roster and wonder why."
It was the teams' first meeting since Oct. 24, when Philadelphia captain Mike Richards
' vicious hit on David Booth left the Panthers forward bloodied and concussed. Booth hasn't played since -- although he is skating on his own, is traveling with the team and hopes to return to practice sometime after Christmas.
The Panthers' anger was evident early as Florida captain Bryan McCabe fought Richards just 3:42 into the game. Ian Laperriere
also fought a pair of Panthers in the first, Gregory Campbell just 1:48 into the game, and Mike Duco.
Laperriere also fought Dennis Seidenberg in the third period, for the rare "glove trick."
"It's a nice win," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "We came in here … I think we righted some wrongs. That's why Bryan McCabe is our captain. He took care of business in the first period, set the tone for us. … I thought we responded in the right way across the board, both physically and with the way we played the game."
McCabe said the Panthers might not be the toughest team in the NHL, but he said there was a message sent out to the other 29 teams.
"We have a great group of guys here," he said. "We might not be the toughest team in the League by player, but we care about each other and we'll do anything for each other, stand up for each other."
Things settled down after the first period, and the Panthers continued to outplay the Flyers in every facet of the game.
"We weren't going to do anything stupid to jeopardize getting a win," McCabe said. "That was the main goal coming in here. If stuff happened, it happened. It worked out, let's put it that way. We didn't put ourselves in vulnerable positions to take care of business and got a good win."
They got off on the right foot when Horton tipped a Keith Ballard shot past Boucher at 4:53 of the first period.
"It seems like we got down a goal and it went south pretty quick," Laviolette said. "We stopped making plays."
Weiss' power-play goal made it 2-0 just 2:01 into the second period. Boucher dove to stop a Frolik shot, but the puck caught him in the hand under his catching glove. The rebound went to an unmarked Weiss in the slot, and he deposited his 18th goal of the season.
Boucher needed stitches to close a cut finger and probably won't play Wednesday against Tampa Bay. Michael Leighton
, who allowed two goals on 17 shots after replacing Boucher, likely will start against the Lightning, with another goalie needing to be called up from the AHL. Johan Backlund was called up from AHL Adirondack to back up Boucher prior to the Flyers claiming Leighton off waivers from Carolina Dec. 15. The Flyers also recently signed former NHL goalie John Grahame to an AHL deal. In his only game, Dec. 18, he allowed four goals on 19 shots in a loss to Hamilton.
Frolik redirected a McCabe shot just 90 seconds into the third period to make it 3-0, and Horton walked out from behind the Flyers net and wired a shot past Leighton at 5:54 of the third to make it 4-0.
Coburn scored the game's final goal when he skated out from behind the Florida net and into the right circle and shot between a maze of legs and sticks at 13:47. It was Coburn's first goal in 10 games.
It also was the only thing the Philadelphia fan base had to cheer about, as they spent most of the game booing the home team.
"We don't have confidence right now to go out and make plays," forward Jeff Carter
said. "You look around, we're skating up, shooting pucks, puck bounces over sticks. It's a lot of little things like that."
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