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Associated Press
10/20/2006 10:18:26 PM

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - It took Ed Belfour three starts to get his first win as a Florida Panther. The Philadelphia Flyers have gone five games without a victory.

Olli Jokinen scored the game-winning goal late in the second period and Florida beat Philadelphia 3-2 on Friday night, the Flyers' fifth straight loss.

Belfour had 25 saves for the Panthers, who started the season 4-0 at home for the first time since 1995-96, when they made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Belfour, who signed as a free agent before the season, improved to 1-2-0 this season.

"I was in the right spots to make the right plays," Belfour said. "We knew they were going to come hard and we tried to match that."

Jozef Stumpel and Juraj Kolnik also scored for Florida.

Simon Gagne had two goals for the Flyers, who last lost five straight from March 28-April 4, 2002. Antero Niittymaki stopped 23 shots for Philadelphia.

"These ones hurt, they hurt a lot," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We are 1-6-1 and we played seven hard games. It's tough on everybody right now."

Mike Van Ryn passed across the ice to Jokinen in the last seconds of a power play, whose shot from the right of the crease got past Niittymaki's glove with 1:43 left in the middle period to break a 2-2 tie.

Jokinen's game-winning goal is his 24th with Florida, breaking the franchise record previously held by Pavel Bure.

"It was a pretty even game but it was good to get Eddie that first win," Jokinen said. "We worked hard against a team we've struggled against. We deserve the two points."

Gagne's second goal came 6:38 into the second period after a shot by Sami Kapanen was blocked by Belfour. Gagne got the rebound and poked the puck into the net to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

The Panthers tied it 34 seconds later when Kolnik's shot from the top of the right circle beat Niittymaki on the glove side.


6,444 Posts
Oh man. Is it the end of Ken Hitchcock yet?

Coaches don't seem to last long in Philadelphia.

Belfour got his first win as a Panther, and Florida continues top play well at home. It's their road problems that are keeping them from having a better record.
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