New millennium, same Pavel Bure.
Ringing in the New Year in his own signature style, the Russian Rocket registered four goals - including three in the third period alone - to lead the Florida Panthers to a thrilling 7-5 win over the Tampa Bay Lighting at the National Car Rental Center (now BB&T Center) on Jan. 1, 2000.
"Basically, we gave it to Pavel in the third period and let him run with it," Panthers forward Ray Whitney, who had three assists in the win, told reporters following Bure's amazing performance.
As part of their "Panthers Rewind" series, FOX Sports Florida re-aired the game on Sunday. Following a quiet first period, Bure notched his first goal of the night just 43 seconds into the second period, finding the back of the net on the power play to put the Panthers on top 3-1.
In the third, he completed his hat trick with goals at 2:58 and 9:03, respectively. Then with 28 seconds left in regulation, he cashed in on an empty net to lock in the win with his fourth goal.
The game marked Bure's second four-goal game of his career.
"It was an unusual New Year's Eve because I had to go to sleep," Bure told FOX Sports Florida's Randy Moller during the latest edition of "Inside the Panthers: At Home" edition. "I didn't get to really celebrate because [it was before the game], but I scored four goals."
Video: Inside The Panthers At Home: Pavel Bure
Thanks in large part to Bure's scoring explosion, goalie Mike Vernon also earned a win in his debut with the Cats. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks in a trade on Dec. 30, 1999, he went 18-13-2 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .919 save percentage with Florida in 1999-00.
With Bure up front and Vernon in the back, the Panthers reached the playoffs that season.
"I said to Pavel, `Thanks for bailing me out,"' Vernon, five-time NHL All-Star, said after making 23 saves against the Lightning. "It seemed like whoever had the last shot was going to win that game. I'm sure we'll be better, and I'll be better. It's just getting the jitters out."
En route to the postseason, Bure pieced together an electric season for the ages. Setting a new franchise record with 58 goals -- a number fueled by a whopping 10 multi-goal games -- he won the first of two consecutive Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophies as the league's top goals-scorer.
In 223 career games with the Panthers, Bure registered 152 goals.
"It was a long time ago, but I remember we had a great bunch of guys," Bure said of the 1999-00 campaign. "We played very well and had some fun. The fans were really supportive of us."
BONUS: HAVE FUN WITH HISTORY
-- Think you're an expert on Pavel Bure? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz.
-- Presented by Baptist Health, the Panthers Virtual Vault is full of treasures from the past.