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The Panthers Take Manhattan: Florida 3, Rangers 2 ... Florida One Point out of Eighth


NEW YORK -- Another big win for the Panthers, a team that has climbed out of the abyss of a horrid start in which they won just two of their first 10 games.

But don't think the Panthers are getting too ahead of themselves nor full of themselves.

''We're far from thinking we're out of the woods just yet,'' Radek Dvorak said.

Said Pete DeBoer: ''It's early in the season. I think the key to an NHL season is riding the tide of the highs and lows. In the first 10 games of the season I wasn't ready to jump off a bridge and now I'm not ready to plan any parades.''

The Panthers have now won eight of 11 and swept a three-game road trip through Buffalo, Detroit and New York.

It's been pretty impressive.

On Wednesday and Friday, the Panthers sat back and hung around. Saturday, they seemed to surprise the Rangers by being the aggressor. They didn't get rewarded early, but did late.

Florida dictated play from the start and earned their three-game sweep by beating the Rangers 3-2 at Madison Square Garden.

''We started off well, like we wanted to although we didn't get the goals or the breaks,'' said Nathan Horton. ''I think we surprised them. They weren't ready to play. I thought we played good most of the night, got pucks to the net and got some lucky goals.''

The Panthers, who were at the bottom of the league standings 10 games into the season, have now pulled themselves back into the pack by winning eight of 11. Florida opened with a 6-2 win in Buffalo then followed with the franchise's first win in Detroit since 1996 on Friday night.

A quick look at the standings show Florida's 22 points one back of eighth place in the east and just three back of fifth-place Philadelphia. Yes it's early and this is no time to slow down. The Panthers open up a three-game homestand Monday against the Penguins, with the Rangers and Maple Leafs also coming to Sunrise.

The Panthers are in the midst of a rough stretch in which they play every other day until Christmas -- but if they can keep winning, they could put themselves back in a good position.

With Saturday's win, the Panthers climbed above .500 in the win column at 10-9-2.

-- Horton now has a five-game scoring streak going. Horton, who scored the game-winner against the Rangers on Saturday, has two goals and four assists in that time frame.

-- Linemates Stephen Weiss and Horton were part of both of Florida's goals in Detroit as Weiss scored the first goal off a Horton pass. Both assisted on Bryan McCabe's overtime winner.

Saturday, the two teamed up for the game-winner as Weiss' shot was blocked by Henrik Lundqvist and Horton cleaned up the rebound.

-- Loved Jordan Leopold's goal on Saturday. It looked like a crazy pool shot but reminded me of a wacky golf shot when you are close to the lake and you grab a wedge and are just trying to bang the ball back into the fairway. Only you really get hold of it and it lands near the green. Leopold's backhanded shot ended up skipping past Lundqvist.

''It's up there with one where you bounce it off the glass, the goalie comes out to play it and it goes in,'' Leopold said. ''It went in, it counts and it's on the scoresheet. It got us a big win. It's great. I was just throwing it down to get something going down low.''

Said Lundqvist: ''I just lost it. Guys were waving their sticks and it just bounced in front of me.''

-- How about Bryan Allen on Saturday? Playing in a back-to-back game, he led all players with 21:55 of icetime.

''He was a warrior out there tonight,'' DeBoer said.

-- Vokoun made 32 saves to be the third star on Saturday.


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Good win for the Panthers! A successful road trip! Hopefully, the wins will carry help their confidence for their homestand this week.

Nice win. Aggressive play, sound goaltending.

another great road trip, now is the time to find out if we can take the next step. the next step is that team cannot read its headlines and then show up and think it is going to win (like the past 8 years) they have to continue to work hard and play a team game. They need 4 points in the next 3 games.

With the amount of injuries that the Panthers had over this road trip, the AHL players should bring energy to the team because they will not want to be sent back. I don't think that they will sit on their heels. The guys that were the veterans were the ones sitting on their heels just a month of two ago. The AHLers want to stay with the big club and will continue to bring it every night. With the team playing well, this is a good time for Sexton to make a trade for the missing pieces ( center and Defenseman). Waive Koistenen. But as we all know, the Panthers wait till the last minute and end up with players like Eminger...

Great road trip! I was going to be surprised with 2 or 3 out of 6 pts. Nice to see Horton and Weiss clicking a bit too. I feel Frolik will be clicking soo too.

PLEASE don't start with 'playoff promises', Yormack!!!!haha

This should be an ineresting week...

By the way, is Tarnasky ever coming back?????

does anyone really miss Jay Bouwmeester ? I don't.
a good player but highly overrated imo. this newly revamped D is rounding into shape nicely now that Allen seems to be fully healthy.
Lepoold and Seidenberg have been pretty good so far. Hopefully Stiilman and Booth will be back soon. I think Sexton put together a pretty decent team considering this organization won't go after a big free agent fish.

Panthers need to start winning at home. That has been a big part of them missing the playoffs the last couple of years. They've been a solid road team and look to be again this year.

The team is starting to click.Allen and Horton playing great.McCardle and the Big O give us grit and jump and finish checks.Faceoff percentage is climbing.Team in early stages of resembling 96 team.We will see after next week.They are coming from behind and winning and the next jinx to break is the hurdle of 4 wins in a row.DeBoer doing a great job.

totally surprised with the way things have picked up. Victor O. and McCardle are playing wesome. And most of all i'm impressed with Bryan Allen. spectacular job on the road trip.

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