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JUST DUCKY: Panthers Losing Streak Ends at 9, Cats Beat Anaheim 3-2

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Peter Horachek will cherish his first victory as head coach in the NHL -- although probably not as much as the Panthers do.

The Panthers ended their nine-game losing streak with a improbable 3-2 victory over Anaheim at BB&T Center on Tuesday.

The Ducks, despite the loss, still have the best record in the league as they have as many regulation losses (four) as the Panthers have wins (four).

"I wasn't sure it was ever going to end,'' said Shawn Matthias, who started things off with a second period goal.

"It feels good for everyone, we got the coach his first win. That's a good team. We're all happy and ready to move onto the next one.''

The Panthers needed a win Tuesday in the worst way what with another loss putting them in close proximity of the worst losing streak (13 games) in franchise history.

Florida, which hadn't won since beating the Wild 2-1 in a shootout Oct. 19, embarks on a five-game road trip that starts against that same Minnesota team on Friday.

"This is not about me. This is about the team,'' said Horachek, 1-2 since replacing the fired Kevin Dineen last week.

"The team has to learn how to win, to learn what it feels to be winners. They feel pretty good right now. They worked hard and got back in it. They needed to win a game. It had been nine of them. Winning is about the team, not individuals.''

With the way Tuesday started, it looked like Loss No. 10 was inevitable. Anaheim, which had won five straight, took a 1-0 lead just 40 seconds in when Andrew Cogliano froze Tim Thomas with a nice move on the doorstep and scored.

The Ducks then made it 2-0 with just over five minutes left as the Panthers heard about their lack of spark from their new coaching staff at the break.

"We have a lot of work to do,'' Horachek said, "but I'm real proud of the way they responded against a team like that. There was a lot of heart, a lot of effort.''

The Panthers had life when Matthias whipped a backhanded shot past goalie Frederik Andersen late in the second. Scottie Upshall followed suit a minute later to tie the score.

Florida took its first and only lead of the night 4:29 into the third when Brad Boyes followed up a shot from Upshall and knocked it through. The Panthers successfully killed off a late hooking penalty from Upshall as Thomas was strong with 32 saves.

"We're playing better as a group and [Tuesday] was an example of having Tim Thomas in net,'' said Upshall, who has three goals in the past two weeks.

"He's a competitor. He lets in a goal and he gets ticked. He's not letting in any more. He led the way. If we can follow on that, we're going to get chances, score and be in games.''

Thomas said he got into a groove as the night went on and wasn't going to let his teammates down.

"I had a good feeling we were going to win that one,'' Thomas said.

MOTTAU ARRIVES

Veteran defenseman Mike Mottau played in his first NHL game since the end of the 2011-12 season on Tuesday after being recalled from Florida's AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

Mottau played in place of Matt Gilroy on Tuesday. Ryan Whitney cleared waivers over the weekend and was sent to San Antonio after Sunday's game in New York.

 

Comments

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Huge win! Its about time. Tim Thomas saved their butts. They were out shot and he made some huge saves. Its about time Upshall got on his horse. Gudbranson had a solid game. They still need to get it together. Lets hope this is a sign of a turn around.

HUH? This W makes no sense...

Thomas > obama

Just saw highlights of this, and liked the look on Thomas' face as the end.

Trading anyone at or before deadline for lower the already lowest CAP will be a HUGE MISTAKE- Horacheck proved that these players are A1 if they want to play.

Exciting win but Panthers talent level so far below Ducks - Cifu will fire Yormak within a year, hopefully sooner, and the outlook for the entire Panthers organization will improve. Yes, I know Yormak does not control hockey operations but his removal from the Panthers is absolutely necessary.

Yormak is a friggin curse. I agree with Panthers Fan. He isn't involved in hockey operations (any more) but he is a curse. Don't think he'll get canned though. This is late but ... man o man did they need a win. Way to hang in.

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