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Finishing Strong

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers' Nathan Horton (16), celebrates his third goal of the game with Stephen Weiss (9), and teammates as New York Islanders' Brendan Witt (32) reacts in the background during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Dec. 14, 2009, in Uniondale, N.Y. The Panthers beat the Islanders 7-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
By Matt Sacco for floridapanthers.com


The Florida Panthers capped off a four game road trip with an emphatic 7-1 win over the New York Islanders last night at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.

With the win, the Panthers finished their four-game roadie with a 2-1-1 record, earning five out of a possible eight points. Florida now sits in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points. They now have two home games this week against division rivals Atlanta (Dec. 17) and Carolina (Dec. 19).
 
The Panthers continue to be led by forwards Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss. The duo combined for 12 points in four games on the trip including Horton’s second career hat trick last night at New York. Horton leads the team with 21 assists and 32 points, while Weiss is tops with 15 goals, and second in points at 29. Horton’s hat trick was the third from a different Panthers player this season, the first time that has happened since 2005-06 when Horton, Olli Jokinen, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jon Sim all recorded hat tricks for the Cats.
 
“Things kind of fell into place, not just me, the whole team, so it was a nice win,” Horton said last night. “It's definitely fun to come into this building and make the fans leave.”
 
“It's been a long time since we've been able to take a deep breath and relax a little in the third period,” DeBoer said. “We've played a lot of overtime and one-goal games this year. We've been playing the right way and haven't been rewarded with wins and goals. [Against New York] we were.”
 
Not to be outdone, talented second-year forward Michael Frolik, playing often with Weiss and Horton, has picked up his play as of late, scoring four points in his last four games including a two-goal game in the 4-2 win over New Jersey on Friday night.
 
The Panthers have now earned points in six of their last eight games and are just five points behind Boston for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Tickets for the Panthers next two home games are still available by calling 954-835-PUCK or logging on to FloridaPanthers.com.
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