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Booth, Anderson get Panthers back on track

by Brian Compton /
David Booth's first NHL hat trick couldn't have come at a better time, as it helped his team end a six-game winless streak.
Booth's three goals came in succession, and Craig Anderson made 44 saves as the Florida Panthers earned a hard-fought 3-1 victory against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Sunday night.
In search of a win to conclude an otherwise forgettable five-game road trip and end their lengthy winless skid, the Panthers found themselves down 1-0 after Anderson gave up a goal to Corey Perry on the Ducks' first shot, which came 1:41 into the game. But Booth was able draw the struggling Panthers even 2:19 later, lofting a backhander past Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
''It was good to get that first goal, we've given up the first goal a lot lately and haven't come back until the third, so to get one right away helped our team out,'' said Booth, who added 2 more goals in the second period.
Anderson was sensational for the Panthers, as Tomas Vokoun's backup stopped all 20 shots he faced in the third period to preserve a much-needed victory. The Ducks outshot Florida by a margin of 45-26.
''You have to give a lot of credit to Anderson,'' Perry said. ''We were in front of him and banging away, but he laid his pads on the ice. A lot of pucks just kept bouncing off his pads and then he covered them up. It's just one of those nights where it just didn't go in the net for us.''
Anderson's acrobatic efforts forced Anaheim to come away without a point in the standings for the second straight contest after it enjoyed a 9-game points streak.
''It was desperation, just reacting without thinking about what you're doing,'' said Anderson, who shut the Ducks down for the final 58 minutes. ''Whatever it takes to stop the puck.''
Booth's hat trick was the first by a Florida player since Richard Zednik had 3 goals in an 8-0 victory at Toronto on Feb. 5.
''I was just putting the puck on net, we had good screens in front,'' said Booth, who wasn't quite sure the last time he had scored 3 goals in a game. ''I think it was in college, maybe against Lake Superior State.''

Blackhawks 6, Flames 1
| Video
Patrick Kane and Martin Havlat each had a goal and two assists, and four others enjoyed multi-point nights as Chicago routed Calgary at the United Center.
Kris Versteeg and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who improved to 6-0-2 at home. Aaron Johnson and Troy Brouwer also scored for Chicago (7-3-3), which is off to its best start since 2001-02 — the last time it made the playoffs.
Cristobal Huet made 22 saves, allowing only Dustin Boyd's 's second-period goal. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped only 21 of 26 shots for Calgary, which lost its second straight game and fourth in its last five. The Flames went 0-for-7 on the power play.
''The penalty killers did a great job at the start and end of the game,'' Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. ''It was a very solid game.''
Chicago held a 2-0 lead after the first period, as Havlat notched a power-play tally at the midway point before Johnson beat Kiprusoff on a shot from the left point with just under a minute remaining. Kane put the Hawks up by 3 midway through the second before Boyd tallied his fourth goal of the season at 18:39.
The Blackhawks got off to a blazing start in the third period, as Toews and Versteeg scored just 28 seconds apart in the first 1:22. Kane assisted on both goals to help Chicago pull away. Troy Brouwer rounded out the scoring at 15:51.
Toews' tally was a confidence booster, as it was his first goal in 13 games this season and came on his 41st shot. After being robbed twice by Kiprusoff earlier in the game, it was a shot that trickled through the netminder's pads that ended up being the one to go in.
''I thought it was another shot in the chest like in the second period when I had the break,'' said Toews, who had 24 goals and 30 assists in 64 games last season. ''It had to be a goal like that, where it wasn't going to be pretty. It went in. It's a confidence boost.''
The Flames skated with several flu-stricken players in their third game in four nights. Kiprusoff made several close-in saves and twice was beaten by shots that hit the post.
''We have some guys with the flu, but we don't want to use that as an excuse,'' Calgary coach Mike Keenan said.

Oilers 2, Devils 1 | Video
Lubomir Visnovsky had two assists and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers stopped 37 of 38 shots in just his second NHL start as Edmonton edged New Jersey at The Rock.
In his first start since Oct. 17, Drouin-Deslauriers made several key saves to protect the lead. He stopped 20 shots in the second period, when the Oilers tallied both of their goals.
''I kind of knew what to expect,'' Drouin-Deslauriers said. ''The first one is always something new. It's always something special. You think you know what to expect, but it's always an unreal feeling.''
In his first start since Oct. 17, Drouin-Deslauriers made several key saves to protect the lead, including a shot from Travis Zajac in front of the net with less than 20 seconds left in the game. He also stopped Danius Zubrus twice and made a glove save on Johnny Oduya's shot from the blue line to preserve a 1-0 advantage.
Zach Parise's ruined Drouin-Deslauriers' shutout bid with his 11th goal of the season 3:50 into the third period.
''I thought he played well for them,'' Devils coach Brent Sutter said. ''We had some quality scoring chances here. I thought he made some good saves and played pretty solid for them.''
After a scoreless first period, Sheldon Souray gave Edmonton the lead with his fifth goal of the season at 7:19 of the second. With the teams at even strength, Souray took a pass from Ales Hemsky and fired a wrist shot that found its way through the legs of Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen.
Hemsky scored a goal in his fourth consecutive game when he skated past two defenders before an attempt to poke the puck away by New Jersey's Jay Leach deflected off Hemsky's left skate and into the net for a power play goal that was reviewed, but upheld with 6:11 left in the second. Visnovsky and Drouin-Deslauriers assisted on Hemsky's fifth goal of the season, giving Edmonton a two-goal cushion. Hemsky has five goals and four assists in the past four contests.
Drouin-Deslauriers came on in relief in Edmonton's last game, making 14 saves without allowing a goal in a 5-4 loss at Pittsburgh. Drouin-Deslauriers has won both of his starts and is making his case for a larger role in the Oilers' three-goalie rotation with veterans Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson.
"'Our team, we feel if we keep playing hard and don't get too crazy taking chances, we know we will get our own chances. We've been able to come back from some deficits the last few games and we are believing in ourselves.'' -- Marty Reasoner on the Oilers second straight win
''I try to not focus on that,'' Drouin-Deslauriers said. ''I try to focus on what I can control. I prepare myself like I'm playing every night even if I'm not.''

Thrashers 5, Hurricanes 2
Marty Reasoner scored twice and Johan Hedberg made 35 saves as Atlanta extended its winning streak to four games with a victory at Carolina.
It was a gritty win for the Thrashers, who twice fought back from being down a goal in the second period. They had lost five straight to the Hurricanes dating back to last season.
''Our team, we feel if we keep playing hard and don't get too crazy taking chances, we know we will get our own chances,'' Reasoner said after his team's second straight win on the road. ''We've been able to come back from some deficits the last few games and we are believing in ourselves.''
With Kari Lehtonen sidelined for a fifth consecutive game due to an illness, Hedberg stepped in and played solidly. Hedberg stopped all 15 shots he faced in the first period and went 11-for-11 in the third to keep the Thrashers in front.
''Our goaltender played really well today. He was really sharp,'' Atlanta coach John Anderson said. ''He was tremendous.''
It was the Hurricanes who got on the board first, though, as Rod Brind'Amour broke a scoreless tie 92 seconds into the second period. But Reasoner evened things up just 2:04 later, when he poked home a rebound from the left circle past Cam Ward for his second goal of the season.
Carolina quickly regained the lead when Ray Whitney beat Hedberg on a breakaway at 5:50, but Ron Hainsey's tally at 10:04 proved to be the first of four answered goals by the Thrashers. Jason Williams scored on the power play at 15:02, and Ilya Kovalchuk followed with his sixth goal of the season just over three minutes later.
''It's tough,'' Brind'Amour said. ''In today's game, you can't have little things go against you because everyone is so evenly matched. We didn't have a lot of jump. We just didn't play well enough.''
    Hedberg was pleased to see his team settle down in the third period after a seesaw affair in the second. Reasoner scored the final period's only goal, which came at 6:03.
''It went to a run-and-gun style for a while and fortunately we came out on top,'' said Hedberg, who has seven career wins against the Hurricanes. ''That hasn't been the case so far this year. It helped getting the lead at 4-2. We played a solid team game after that. We deserved to get a good win.''

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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