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Panthers Young Guns Get Their Chance

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Due to the many unfortunate injuries the Panthers have faced throughout this season to players like Todd Bertuzzi, Jozef Stumpel, Branislav Mezei, Gary Roberts, Rostislav Olesz and the retirement of Joe Nieuwendyk, the Cats have been forced to rely heavily on their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Amerks, to fill the void left by these injuries.

In Saturday night's game against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Panthers featured four of their recent AHL call-ups, the most Amerks to play in a single game for the Panthers this season.

C Drew Larman, LW David Booth, C Kamil Kreps, and D Martin Lojek each logged considerable ice time in the Panthers 5-2 victory over Wayne Gretzky's Coyotes at the BankAtlantic Center. All four players have developed into contributors to the Panthers club in recent weeks.

"I like the way they've evolved," stated Panthers coach Jacques Martin. "We had to call on them several times this year to play an important role on our team."

In three games so far with Panthers, Lojek has played very well on defense with a solid plus-2 ratio. In Saturday's game, Lojek contributed on offense and recorded his first NHL point with an assist on the Gary Roberts goal at 14:09 in the 2nd period.

David Booth has been playing extremely well for the Cats this season. He has skated in 23 games for the Cats notching 1 goal, 4 assists and 34 shots on goal.

Larman has played in 13 games scoring two goals and putting 14 shots on net.

Kreps has played well in eight games for the Panthers. He scored the first point of his NHL career on January 12th in a 7-3 win over the Washington Capitals.
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