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Associated Press
12/21/2006 10:32:46 PM


SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Panthers hadn't won three games in a row all season, let alone any in which they'd trailed after two periods.

They accomplished both Thursday night. Rostislav Olesz capped a three-goal rally midway through the third period to give the Panthers a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

Chris Gratton and Nathan Horton also scored for Florida, which won after trailing in the third for the first time in 16 games this season. The victory also gave the Panthers their first three-game winning streak of the season.

"A lot of our games in December could easily have been victories," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "Our play has picked up and we need to get results now."

Brad Isbister and Jason Ward scored for the Rangers, who have lost a season-high four in a row.

"We had the game in our hands," Rangers defenceman Darius Kasparaitis said. "When things are not going well, you find ways to lose."

Ed Belfour stopped 30 shots for Florida, including a key save on Brendan Shanahan with about 20 seconds left. Kevin Weekes made 33 saves for the Rangers.

Olesz's game-winner, his third goal in three games, came when he grabbed a rebound in front of the net and wrapped it around Weekes.

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