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Panthers find cure to winless streak against Flyers

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Florida Panthers might be a playoff contender if they had more games against the Flyers.

Nineteen-year-old rookie Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals and an assist, Scott Clemmensen made 32 saves and the Panthers beat Philadelphia 5-2 on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Peter Mueller also scored two goals and Tomas Kopecky had one for the Panthers, who were winless in their past five games (0-2-3). Florida's previous win also was in Philadelphia, a 3-2 shootout victory on Feb 7.

"Four points out of Philadelphia is not too shabby, and we walk out of the place still standing," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "So that's not always the way it's worked here in Philly. A lot of atmosphere here, a lot of character, so it's good to come in here and get some wins."

Coming off a frantic 6-5 win over the rival Penguins on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, the Flyers couldn't ride the emotions of their thrilling victory. They fell to 8-10-1 with their first loss in three games.

"There's no doubt it's a frustrating one," Flyers center Danny Briere said. "We talked about coming out strong. All day we talked about getting ready for this game. We were aware. We just didn't execute the way we were supposed to."

Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen blamed the letdown on fatigue after a six-game road trip and emotional win 24 hours earlier.

"Coming back from a six-game road trip and a hard-charged game, we were tired," he said. "It's tough mentally."

Luke Schenn snapped Clemmensen's shutout attempt in the third period and Jakub Voracek scored his fourth goal in two games for the Flyers.

Mueller gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead 8:15 into the first period when he fired a shot upstairs over Ilya Bryzgalov's blocker. Huberdeau set it up with a perfect pass from near the left circle through two defenders.

Just 29 seconds later, Kopecky took advantage of a turnover, broke in alone and snapped a shot past Bryzgalov. The 2-0 deficit prompted Flyers coach Peter Laviolette to call a timeout.

It didn't work.

"We knew that they played Pittsburgh the night before. We knew that they might have a little less in their step, but we wanted to get on them quickly," Mueller said. "And that's what we did."

A few minutes later, Huberdeau had a one-on-none breakaway before getting pulled down from behind by Timonen. Huberdeau was awarded a penalty shot and he slipped a shot between Bryzgalov's legs. Bryzgalov tossed his stick over the net in a show of frustration, but Laviolette left him on the ice.

He didn't last long, however. After Huberdeau scored on the power play to make it 4-0 in the second period, Bryzgalov was yanked. Brian Boucher came in to the usual "Boosh" chants from fans. Bryzgalov threw his stick down the tunnel as he headed to the locker room.

"He's getting more confident every game," Mueller said of Huberdeau. "It's nice. It's fun to play with him that's for sure."

Schenn fired a slap shot past Clemmensen to cut it to 4-1. Mueller scored 44 seconds later, but Voracek answered 62 seconds afterward.

NOTES: Flyers center Matt Read will miss six weeks with torn rib cage muscles after taking a crunching hit from Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz on Wednesday night. Read is the third top-line player to get injured this season. Danny Briere missed the first four games and Scott Hartnell has been out of the lineup for a month. ... Mueller's goal was his first in eight games. ... Huberdeau has goals in three of the last five games. ... Bryzgalov has allowed five goals in the first period in the last two games. ... The teams met for the third and final time this season after each won on the road.
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