SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) _ Roberto Luongo gave the Florida Panthers a chance to
overcome a terrible first period.
Luongo stopped 50 shots, including 26 in the first period, and the Panthers
overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the New York Islanders 6-4 on Wednesday
``Nobody was satisfied with the first period,'' said Luongo, who came into
the game leading the NHL with a 93.4 save percentage. ``I was just trying to
keep it close.''
Nathan Horton, Olli Jokinen, Matt Cullen, Stephen Weiss, Mikael Samuelsson
and Donald Audette scored for Florida, which was outshot 28-7 in the first
period and 54-24 overall.
``They came out hard on us there,'' Panthers coach John Torchetti said.
``They smelled blood and they went for it. Louie was unbelievable. It could
have been 5-0 after the first period.''
The victory snapped the Panthers' eight-game winless streak (0-5-3) against
the Islanders. Florida is seven points behind the eighth-place Islanders, with
both teams having nine games remaining. The top eight teams in the Eastern
Conference will advance to the postseason.
``This gives us a chance,'' Cullen said. ``If we don't win this one, it
probably closes the door on us.''
Adrian Aucoin, Trent Hunter, Michael Peca and Mark Parrish scored for the
Islanders, who tied a franchise record with their 28 first-period shots. The
mark was set against Pittsburgh on Dec. 5, 1978.
``You get 28 shots, that's a pretty good stat, but it doesn't mean much if
there's no one there for the rebound,'' Islanders center Jason Blake said.
The 28 shots set a Florida record for shots allowed in a period, breaking
the mark of 26 set against Anaheim on Jan. 1, 1994, and tied at Los Angeles on
Jan. 6, 2000.
Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro allowed four goals on 12 shots and was pulled
in favor of Garth Snow after the second period.
Luongo kept the Islanders from building more than a 2-0 lead in the first
period while Florida was being outshot 28-7.
Weiss began the Florida comeback with 1:23 left in the first period when he
took a pass from Horton in the neutral zone and skated in to beat DiPietro
between the legs.
Horton's fluke goal tied it at 2:25 of the second period. DiPietro let the
puck slip through his legs after going behind the net to play a dump-in.
``To give up such a weak goal was a momentum-changer,'' Islanders coach
Steve Stirling said.
Jokinen gave Florida the lead at 14:30 with a short-handed goal, and Cullen
closed out the second-period scoring when he put home Mike Van Ryn's cross-ice
pass in front of the net.
After Peca brought the Islanders to 4-3 on a tip-in at 7:13 of the third
period, Samuelsson scored his first of the season 28 seconds later on a
one-timer from the slot.
Parrish cut it to 5-4 at 12:35, and Audette closed out the scoring with a
power-play goal with 43.6 seconds left.
Aucoin opened the scoring at 4:27 on a five-on-three with a slap shot that
beat Luongo to the stick side. Hunter then banged home a rebound to make it 2-0
``We weren't happy with how we played in the first period,'' Cullen said.
``It just shows you how valuable Roberto is. He has come through for us all
year, and he did it again tonight.''