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Panthers Pounce On Canucks

Although Pavel Bure was out of the lineup with an injury, the Florida Panthers didn't need to worry about their offense.

Five different players scored and Trevor Kidd stopped 36 shots as the fast-starting Panthers beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Wednesday night.

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  • "It was important that we showed that we could win without Pavel," said Florida defenseman Bret Hedican, who was part of the blockbuster trade with Vancouver that sent Bure to the Panthers last January.

    "A win like this, without him in the lineup, is a feather in our cap. It shows that we have a solid team."

    Bure missed what would have been his first showdown against his former team because of a nagging groin injury that has kept him out of the lineup for the past three games.

    Bure spent seven seasons in Vancouver until a contract dispute forced a trade last January. The injury denied him a chance to play against his former team.

    It didn't matter. The Panthers, who are off to 5-1-1 start and first-place standing in the Southeast Division, featured a balanced attack. They scored a goal in each of the first two periods, then scored three more times in the third.

    "We have a coach (Terry Murray) who has a system, and if we follow that system, we're going to win a lot of games," Hedican said.

    Kidd, whom the Panthers acquired in a trade from Atlanta in June, is off to his best NHL start at 4-0-1 in helping Florida move to the top of the division.

    "I don't think I've faced more than 25 shots in any game this year," Kidd said. "The defense has been real good for us. Those guys have really limited the other team's chances."

    Canucks galie Kevin Weekes, who was part of the Bure trade, had a tough night against his former team, allowing four goals.

    "Kevin is continuing to develop as a goaltender, but tonight he showed some fatigue in the third period, and he has to keep battling," Vancouver coach Mark Crawford said.

    Cam Stewart scored a goal and added an assist for the Panthers, and Oleg Kvasha, Rob Niedermayer and Viktor Kozlov also scored for Florida. Brad May and Peter Schaefer scored for Vancouver.

    Florida led 1-0 on Svehla's goal at 12:59 of the first period. Stewart dug the puck out from behind the net and sent it to the front of the crease, and Svehla stuffed it past Weekes for his third goal.

    The Panthers led 2-0 on Kvasha's first goal, which came on the power play. Svehla's blast from the right point missed, but Kvasha knocked in the rebound at 11:33 of the second period.

    Florida stretched its lead to 3-0 on Niedermayer's goal 53 seconds into the third period. Ray Whitney worked the puck from behind the net, and Niedermayer beat Weekes with a high shot.

    Vancouver finally scored on Brad May's goal at 2:53 of the third period. Alexander Moligny fanned on a shot from the slot, but May moved in and fired the puck past Kidd.

    Stewart gave Florida a 4-1 lead before Schaefer brought the Canucks within two goals again. Kozlov finished out the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

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