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Bure, Panthers Top Islanders


It was a night for injured players to return in a big way for the Florida Panthers.

Pavel Bure scored a pair of goals in his first action in two weeks as the Panthers defeated the New York Islanders 6-3 Wednesday night.

The Panthers welcomed the return of several injured players to the lineup. Bure had missed five straight games; Ray Whitney, who scored a goal and had two assists, missed Florida's previous game with a groin injury; Peter Worrell played for the first time this season after injuring his left knee in training camp.

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  • "When we have a healthy lineup, our confidence level goes right through the roof," said Mark Parrish, who scored twice as the Panthers snapped a two-game losing streak.

    The six goals were the most by Florida this season.

    Bure has five goals and four assists in five games this season. It was Bure's first action since suffering a groin injury against Montreal on Oct. 12, forcing him to miss five games.

    Bure started the Panthers' scoring by beating New York goaltender Felix Potvin at 2:55 of the first period.

    "I felt fine. I guess it's 100 percent when you go out and score and your team wins 6-3," Bure said.

    "It's always important to score the first goal, whether it's me or someone else. It gives the team a lot of confidence."

    Viktor Kozlov had three assists for the Panthers, and Filip Kuba scored his firt goal of the season.

    "Florida obviously was ready to go after a couple of losses, and they have some skilled guys out there," Islanders coach Butch Goring said. They probably are the most skilled team that we've played.

    "It's difficult when you dig yourself a hole and try to come back. I guess on the positive side, we continued to play."

    The Panthers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period, beginning with Bure's goal at 2:55 against Felix Potvin.

    Whitney scored at 7:32, and Parrish followed at 12:21.

    New York pulled within 3-1 on Olli Jokinen's power-play goal with 1:20 left in the period.

    Florida went ahead 4-1 on Kuba's power-play goal at 7:21 of the second period.

    Bure's second goal of the night padded Florida's lead to 5-1 with 4:57 left in the second. Whitney was credited for his second assist, working the puck from behind the net to Bure, whose wrist shot from the slot beat Potvin.

    Parrish added a second goal to open a 6-1 lead for the Panthers with 2:36 left in the second.

    Tim Connolly scored for New York on a power-play goal with 5.3 seconds left in the second period, and Mariusz Czerkawksi scored at 1:35 of the third period to close the gap to 6-3.

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