Panthers Tear Apart Rangers


This is why Pavel Bure loves hockey.

The Florida Panthers star scored a goal and assisted on two others in a 6-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night. The victory came two days after a 6-1 loss to Philadelphia.

"That is what's so great about this game," Bure said. "You lose 6-1 and 48 hours later you win 6-2. That's why I love this game. It's not as easy as it looks, because we had that really bad game against Philly and we were trying to bounce back. It's just great."

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  • Florida scored four goals in an 11-minute span in the second period, and Trevor Kidd made 39 saves as the Panthers improved to 9-2-1 at home and 6-0-1 when Bure scores.

    "I wish there would be more games like this," Panthers coach Terry Murray said. "It was a wide open game; fun for the fans and fun for us."

    Radek Dvorak and Ray Whitney scored goals in the opening minutes of the second, sending goalie Mike Richter to the bench and giving the Panthers a 3-1 lead.

    Richter's replacement, Kirk McLean, did not fair much better.

    The Panthers scored twice on McLean in the second. Viktor Kozlov scored a power-play goal at 11:49, and Scott Mellanby added a goal 27 seconds later to make it 5-1.

    The four second-period goals were a season high for the Panthers.

    "Consistency cerainly hasn't been there," Rangers right wing John MacLean said. "We got embarrassed, and it keeps happening. We go brain dead for certain periods of a time, and it hurts."

    New York played without star defenseman Brian Leetch for the first time this season. He is expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks after fracturing his right forearm Wednesday against Tampa Bay.

    The Panthers scored first when Jaroslav Spacek beat Richter with a wrist shot at 11:38 of the first period.

    The Rangers tied it at 19:37 on Kim Johnsson's second goal of the season. Johnsson slipped a shot past Trevor Kidd from just inside the blue line off a faceoff.

    Bure started the scoring onslaught in the second with a perfect crossing pass to Kozlov, whose shot rebounded off Richter to Dvorak, who was alone in front of the net.

    Bure, scoreless in the last four games, beat McLean in the third period for the Russian star's eighth goal in 14 games this season.

    Alexandre Daigle completed the scoring for New York.

    The Rangers, last in the league in power-play scoring, continued to struggle with an advantage, going 0-for-4 on power plays. New York outshot Florida 41-36.

    "We had many breakdowns," Rangers coach John Muckler said. "Too many."

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