Skip to Main Content

Panthers tame Wild 2-1 @NHLdotcom

Two goals in 53 seconds were just enough for the Florida Panthers to win their third consecutive home game.

Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli had goals in a 53-second span in the first period, and Tomas Vokoun made them stand up with 22 saves as the Panthers beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Friday night.

Higgins opened the scoring at 6:53 when he picked off a pass near the blue line and brought the puck behind the net. He pushed the puck out to traffic in front, then grabbed a rebound off Jose Theodore's glove and poked it in.

"You've got to be tough in your own building," Higgins said. "We want to make it tough for teams to come down here and grab points from us."

Rostislav Olesz then set up Santorelli for a wrister that beat Theodore and made it 2-0.

"It was a big start. We came out moving our feet and got two goals and the game tightened up after that," Santorelli said. "It was a hard-fought battle."

Cal Clutterbuck scored on a power play with 3:02 left in the period. Nick Schultz took a shot from the point that Vokoun blocked, but Clutterbuck got the rebound and beat Vokoun on the stick side.

"It's tough when you put yourself in a hole like that," Clutterbuck said. "Take away the first five minutes and it was a pretty good hockey game. Sometimes you don't get the bounces to climb out of it."

The Wild was coming off a 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night.

"You need your big dogs to step up in big games," coach Todd Richards said. "Coming off a loss, it's a big game."

As the game ended, Florida's Steve Bernier took a stick to the face and sustained a cut on his cheekbone, below the eye. Minnesota's Brent Burns received a fighting penalty and a game misconduct penalty at 20:00 for his role in the incident.

"I don't know how it happened. I saw he was bleeding," Burns said. "He just came at me, and maybe my glove got him, I don't know."

The extent of his injury won't be known until later, according to Florida coach Peter DeBoer.

"It looks like he got a butt end in the face," DeBoer said. "Whether there was intent there or not, that's for other people to decide. He's pretty hurt in there."

Florida forward Radek Dvorak became the franchise leader in games played with 574, breaking the mark set by defenseman Robert Svehla from 1994-2002. Dvorak played for Florida from 1995-2000 before returning as a free agent in 2007.

Material from wire services and team media were used in this report

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.