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Richard Zednik and Panthers snap Islanders four-game win streak

The Canadian Press
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New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo, left, attempts a shot against Florida Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun, of the Czech Republic, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, in Sunrise, Fla. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Wilfredo Lee) Author: The Hockey News

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Richard Zednik and Panthers snap Islanders four-game win streak

The Canadian Press
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SUNRISE, Fla. - Another highlight-reel goal for Richard Zednik.

Another win for the Florida Panthers.

Zednik's goal in the second period helped the surging Florida Panthers beat New York 3-2 and snap the Islanders season-high, four-game winning streak Thursday night.

"He's a guy that has that world-class speed and can score a goal like that for us," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "And we need him to do that down the stretch."

Zednik scored at 12:39 to give Florida a 3-1 lead. After carrying the puck into the Islanders zone, he hopped over sliding New York defenceman Brendan Witt and tapped the puck between goalie Joey MacDonald's legs as he landed.

"That was a great move by him," MacDonald said. "Not too many players can do that in this league. He did, and he executed pretty well."

Zednik scored in a 5-1 victory over Montreal a week ago while falling to the ice after being tripped. But that paled in comparison to his goal that was scored after he jumped over a defender.

"It's not too tough," Panthers centre Stephen Weiss said. "Nah, I'm kidding. It's a world-class goal. Can't teach that. Not too many other guys could pull that off."

Defencemen Jay Bouwmeester and Karlis Skrastins also scored for the Panthers, who are 9-2-3 since Jan. 1. Florida leads the NHL with 36 goals from defencemen.

Zednik also had an assist, and defenceman Bryan McCabe helped set up two goals. Both players are former Islanders.

Josh Bailey and Trent Hunter scored power-play goals for the Islanders, who have the fewest points in the NHL despite their streak.

"I thought we played a good second and third period," Bailey said. "The first period was kind of sloppy, but the last 40 we played real well. We were back to doing the things we were doing when we had that little winning streak. It's a positive we battled right to the end and made a game out of it."

Tomas Vokoun, back in goal for Florida after missing one game because of the flu, made 20 saves.

MacDonald, who returned after a six-game absence caused by a groin injury, stopped 26 shots.

"By the third I felt good," MacDonald said. "My timing was coming better and I started picking up the puck a little quicker."

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the first period, when they outshot the Islanders 10-6.

Bouwmeester opened the scoring at 5:41 with his sixth goal in 11 games. He beat MacDonald to the glove side with a slap shot from the point.

"All year, everyone's been chipping in," Bouwmeester said. "That's kind of just the way it has to be here. Everyone has to contribute a little bit."

Skrastins scored at 16:53 with a slap shot from the high slot. Seconds after Weiss checked Frans Nielsen into the Florida bench, Weiss passed the puck back to McCabe at the point. McCabe then fed Skrastins, who beat MacDonald low to the stick side.

The Islanders got back into it in the second period by converting two of four power-play opportunities despite missing all-star defenceman Mark Streit, out with an upper-body injury.

Bailey, a rookie, scored his second NHL goal at 8:22 with a slap shot from the wing that beat Vokoun to the short side.

Hunter scored at 14:51 to make it 3-2 just 3 seconds into the Islanders third power play of the period. Hunter grabbed a loose puck in front of the net right off the faceoff and put a backhander past Vokoun.

The Islanders managed only seven shots on goal in a scoreless third period, but defenceman Chris Campoli did have a good scoring opportunity in the final seconds. His wrist shot from the wing was stopped by Vokoun, and the Islanders couldn't get another shot off.

"We responded well when we were down," MacDonald said. "We could have given up, but we kept battling back and that's what good teams do."

Notes: Islanders C Nate Thompson left the game in the first period because of a shoulder injury and did not return. ... The Islanders winning streak was their longest since they a six-game surge in February 2008. ... The teams split the four-game season series. ... Florida LW David Booth, the team's leader in goals, was back in the lineup after missing two games because of the flu.

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Richard Zednik and Panthers snap Islanders four-game win streak