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Zednik leads Panthers to 5-4 OT victory on anniversary of neck injury

NHL.com @NHL

SUNRISE, Fla. - Exactly one year after he suffered a severe neck injury, Richard Zednik scored his second goal of the game at 1:02 of overtime to give Florida a 5-4 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

The Panthers rallied from a three-goal deficit in the third period. Brett McLean, Nathan Horton and Ville Peltonen also scored for Florida, which moved past Carolina into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers improved to 10-3-3 since Jan. 1.

Niklas Hagman scored twice for Toronto, which came in with a 3-1-1 mark in its last five games. Jamal Mayers and Nik Antropov added goals, while Jason Blake, Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina each had two assists.

Florida's Tomas Vokoun stopped 35 shots. Vesa Toskala made 33 saves for Toronto.

Florida beat Toronto for the third time in three meetings. The Panthers won at Toronto, 4-3 in overtime, on Feb. 3.

Zednik scored the game-winner when he one-timed a slapshot from the high slot off a feed from Cory Stillman.

Zednik's carotid artery was slashed accidentally by the skate blade of teammate Olli Jokinen in Buffalo last year. Zednik underwent emergency surgery. He lost five pints of blood and spent a few days in a Buffalo hospital. A rose-coloured scar now runs down his neck, offering a constant reminder of the injury.

Horton began Florida's comeback 26 at 8:13, only 26 seconds after Antropov's goal made it 4-1.

Nick Boynton's wrist shot was deflected wide of the net and bounced off the boards to the other side. Horton was there to pick up the loose puck and shoot it between Toskala's legs.

Peltonen scored at 10:48 when he fought off defenceman Luke Schenn to put home a loose puck in the crease.

Zednik tied the game at 14:31 when he put home a rebound from the front of the net. Zednik also had two good scoring chances in the first period but was kept off the scoreboard.

Hagman, who began his NHL career with 3 1/2 seasons with the Panthers, gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 10:31 of the first period. He put home a rebound from close range while being checked to the ice by defenceman Jay Bouwmeester.

Hagman scored his second goal on the power play at 18:29 of the second to give Toronto a 3-1 lead. After Jason Blake's rebound from close range went off the post, Hagman batted home the loose puck in midair while standing to the side of the net.

Mayers broke a 1-1 tie at 16:50 of the second when his backhander slid slowly between the legs of Vokoun.

McLean scored Florida's first goal at 3:13 of the second period.

Notes: Florida stayed performed on Tuesday this season, improving to 7-0. ... Antropov was playing in his 500th NHL game. ... Toronto D Mike Van Ryn missed the game because of a lower-body injury sustained in Saturday night s 5-2 victory at Montreal.

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