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Richard Zednik Heating Up ... Zednik's Goal: No. 2 on SportsCenter (U.S. Version, eh) ... Florida Panthers 3, New York Islanders 2

Zednik Richard Zednik is playing some terrific hockey (he had been playing terrific baseball) for the Panthers in the past month. Now, his hard work of crashing the net and going strong into the corners is starting to pay off statistically.

Zednik has two goals and an assist in the past four games, those two goals coming in TSN SportsCentre classic fashion.

ESPN makes Zednik's goal No. 2 top play of the night, just behind Tennessee coach Pat Summitt winning her 1,000th career game. Congrats, coach. Huge milestone. Huge.

But, my bet is Canada's all-sports station ranked Zednik's goal ahead of UT women's hoops. Just a hunch.

As many of you may remember, Zednik was really turning things on at this time last season, then that game on Feb. 10 happened in Buffalo. Sure everyone remembers that game. Anyway, if the Panthers are going to be serious contenders for the postseason this year, they're going to need Zednik to be on.

Check out this quote from one Peter DeBoer: ''He's a game-breaker. Your best players have to be your best players down the stretch, and he's in that group of guys. Right now, he's delivering.'' Here's the rest of the story from tonight.

Oh, and here are the goals:

This is the one from tonight, the one that held up as the game-winner.

This is the one from Thursday against the Habs.

Both are terrific. Both will be part of the Panthers post-season highlight DVD. If they make Florida Panthers highlight DVDs. I don't know if they do.

Funny, but both goals gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead.

-- Your Carolina Hurricanes played a pretty nice game tonight in San Jose, winning in a shootout after being down 2-0 and 3-1 on the road. Carolina pulls to within a point of Florida for eighth.

But look at those standings. Here we are in February, and the Panthers aren't eight points out of eighth. No, they are one point out of seventh (Buffalo), three points out of sixth (Philly), five points out of fifth (Rangers) and six points out of fourth (Expos) in the Eastern Conference.

Pirates But, as the creepy talking skull warns on Pirates of the Caribbean, rough waters are ahead.

Of Florida's next 12 games, 10 come against teams now in a playoff position (including Chicago on the West Side), one against the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes and one against a team that woulda, coulda, shoulda beaten the Panthers on Tuesday in Toronto (one guess who that was, and no, it wasn't the Argos).

Have a good night.

The Panthers, as nice as things look right now, have a lot of work to do.