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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.


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that's why you need to beet the lower teams, so you can play .500 during the tough team stretch.we got 4 out of 6 points these last three; not bad...JM needs to help by picking up a guerin or weight, and move horton back to wing!

After hearing 790's game coverage, I was convinced that I had to go to my FIRST EVER Panthers game.

What an experience.

My office is in SOUTH Kendall, so making a 7.30 start is difficult. A real shame because I had one of the best times ever at any sports event. Fortunately it was a close and tight game. Seeing a hockey game in person compared to television is such a different experience than basketball live vs tv, or football or baseball. The action is nonstop, the fans are amazing and so damn dedicated unlike Heat fans that are there "to be seen".

My date and I had an awesome time, and that crazy Zednick goal had me screaming "Wilsoooooooooooon", and her screaming, "Get in my belly!". Well worth the drive, and the first of many games no doubt!

I'm glad you had a great time at the Panthers game last night! That's the type of experience I hope for when I bring someone to their first hockey game.

I hope you'll tell your friends, and bring them with you next time! The more fans in the building, the more electric the atmosphere gets. This team has struggled for nearly a decade, and they're starting to turn it around! You're getting in at a great time!

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