Talk about breaking out of a scoring slump -- Mark Parrish really did it in style.
Parrish, the first player in the Panthers' six-year history to score four goals in a game, broke a six-game scoreless drought. It was the first time he found the net since scoring twice in the Panthers' 4-1 opening-night win over Tampa Bay.
"I was kind of getting a little anxious to get out of it," Parrish said of his scoring drought. "It wasn't so much from the fans or the media, but from your own players. You don't want them to think it was a fluke."
While not expecting a four-goal night, Florida coach Terry Murray did think Parrish would find the net before long.
"(Parrish) was a big goal scorer coming out of junior and in training camp he showed us he might be a goal scorer in this league," Murray said. "He's good around the net and has good hands. Still, we don't know if he's the kind of guy who can score consistently or might score in streaks."
| The Blackhawks couldn't stop rookie Mark Parrish. (AP) |
Bob Probert, Doug Gilmour and Doug Zmolek scored for Chicago, which fell behind 3-0 after one period. Blackhawks coach Dirk Graham took the blame for yet another slow start by his team.
"We haven't been prepared all year," Graham said. "I think from tonight's point of view, it was solely my responsibility. I think I let the team down."
Blackhawks starting goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick, who played 41/2 seasons for Florida, was replaced by Jeff Hackett at the start of the second period. Fitzpatrick allowed three goals on eight shots in the first.
"We let Mark down," said Chicago defenseman Chris Chelios. "Our job is to play defense first. We're getting beat on special teams and five-on-five."
Niedermayer converted Florida's first shot into a power-play goal at the 59-second mark when he slipped to the crease alone and knocked Dave Gagner's centering pass under Fitzpatrick.
Parrish made it 2-0 with a close-in power-play goal at 11:03. He connected again at 14:28 after a bad pass by Chelios resulted in a Florida two-on-one.
The Blackhawks tested Panthers goaltender Sean Burke in the second period as they outshot Florida 15-9 and cut the Panthers' lead to 3-2.
Probert cut it to 3-1 at 1:54 of the second period on a shot from the left circle. Gilmour's power-play goal at 12:39, lofted over Burke's left shoulder from the right side of the net, made it 3-2.
Niedermeyer's second goal ripped over Hackett's glove from 35 feet at 2:45 of the third period and gave the Panthers a 4-2 lead. Dvorak completed a shorthanded two-on-one at 9:28 to make it 5-2.
Chicago's Doug Zmolek scored an unassisted goal on a screened shot at 12:04 to make it 5-3. Parrish then scored twice, including a power-play goal with seven seconds remaining, to complete the scoring.
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