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Panthers Edge Blackhawks


The only player more surprised than Bill Lindsay after he scored the game-winning goal with 2:16 left was Chicago goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick.

With the score tied 1-1 late in the third period, Lindsay intercepted a blind clearing pass from Chicago defenseman Eric Weinrich and stunned Fitzpatrick with a wrist shot to give the Florida Panthers a 2-1 victory over Chicago, the Blackhawks' fourth consecutive defeat.

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  • "I looked over my shoulder for a second to see if the puck was coming out the other side," said Fitzpatrick, who was outstanding in the nets with 30 saves. "As I turned around, the puck was over my shoulder. It was too late for me to react."

    :Lindsay, who scored his second goal of the season and second in two games, couldn't believe his good fortune.

    "I was shocked when it hit my stick," Lindsay said. "Scott (Mellanby) did a great job forechecking and their defenseman shot it right on my stick. I shot hard and hoped it went in. I had a lot of mustard on it."

    Weinrich took full blame for the bitter defeat, which featured several fights and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, including a game-ending tussle.

    "I've played over 600 games in this league and I can't make a stupid mistake like that," Weinrich said. "That's not safe in a 1-1 game. The team counts on me to make better plays than that."

    After the game, Panthers forward Dino Ciccarelli, who gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 6:54 of the second period when he scored a power-play goal, angrily accused Fitzpatrick of kicking him twice in the head following the goal. He had two welts on his forehead.

    "Twice he got me, he knew what he was doing," said Ciccarelli, who was playinin his first game of the season after sitting out with ankle and back injuries. "He's notorious for that. This is ridiculous. I'm surprised he didn't slit my forehead wide open."

    Ciccarelli's goal was No. 603, tying him with Mark Messier for eighth place on the career goal-scoring list.

    Fitzpatrick, who is well known for clearing out the opposition with his goalie stick, denied the accusation. No penalty was called.

    "His face was in front of my skate after he was pushed down," Fitzpatrick said. "He landed on my leg and skate. I could've hurt him but obviously I didn't. Let him talk."

    Chris Chelios was involved in four tussles, including one with Rob Niedermayer at the end of the game.

    "We made a mistake and left the guy open high in the slot and he made a heck of a shot and beat us," Chelios said of Lindsay's winning wrist shot. "We got to play better in our end than that."

    Chicago's Tony Amonte scored a third-period goal, his seventh, to forge a 1-1 tie at 6:09 of the third.

    Panthers goalie Sean Burke had 33 saves.

    Following a scoreless first period, the Panthers, who have the 26th-ranked power play at home, finally clicked when the 38-year-old Ciccarelli pounced on a rebound of Niedermayer's wrist shot and stuffed it in for a 1-0 lead at 6:54 of the second period. Ray Whitney and Niedermayer notched assists. Ciccarelli has 50 goals and 99 career points against Chicago.

    Florida was 1-for-24 on power-play opportunities at home before Ciccarelli's goal.

    The Panthers and Blackhawks completed their two-game season series just three weeks into the season. Florida defeated Chicago 7-3 Friday as rookie Mark Parrish scored a franchise-high four goals. In that one, Fitzpatrick was pulled after giving up three goals in the first period.

    The Blackhawks, who are ranked last in the NHL in road power plays, went 0-for-5 Wednesday and are now 0-for-15 this season.

    "We obviously came for the win," said Chicago coach Dirk Graham. "Nothing else is ever acceptable. It was a tough loss, but the team worked and competed hard."

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