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Read registers hat trick as Flyers rout Panthers

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SUNRISE, Fla. -- After just five goals in their first four games -- three of them losses -- the Philadelphia Flyers are starting to roll.

Matt Read earned his first career hat trick to lead the Flyers to a 7-1 win over the Florida Panthers Saturday night.

It was the fourth straight loss for the Panthers (1-4), who scored four goals in their first period of the season and have been outscored 18-2 since.

The Flyers (2-3), meanwhile, got three goals in Saturday's first period and cruised from there.

It was the first road win of the season for the Flyers, although there were many Philadelphia fans present on enemy ice. Those supporters were heard chanting: "Let's Go Flyers!"

Read, who got one goal in each period, credited his success to his linemates, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. This was the second straight game those three have played together, and both games resulted in Flyers wins.

"Claude is one of the best players in the NHL, and Simmonds is one of the hardest-working ... one of the best battle guys in the corners," Read said. "Simmonds and I had good chemistry last year and a little bit at the beginning of this year. And now with Claude, things are happening for us. The chemistry is clicking for us right now."

Read, a second-year pro who scored 24 goals as a rookie, played in Sweden during the lockout. He was ready when the bell rang to start the NHL season, even if the results weren't always there.

He said he wasn't pressing early, even though he had not scored until Saturday.

"I concentrated on doing the little things right," Read said. "Now playing with two great linemates, I'm the beneficiary of that."

The Flyers scored their first goal after just 3:10 had elapsed, capitalizing on a two-man advantage on the power play.

"It was good to get going early," defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "After that, we were generating chances, and guys were scoring."

Saturday's game was the first of the season for Flyers forward Danny Briere, who had been out with a broken left wrist.

It also marked the return of right winger Mike Knuble to the Flyers. Knuble, 40, signed a one-year contract on Friday. He spent the past three seasons with the Washington Capitals but previously played for the Flyers from 2005 to 2009.

Knuble, who had one assist on Saturday, was signed after Flyers All-Star forward Scott Hartnell, who scored 37 goals last season, suffered a broken left foot Tuesday against New Jersey. He is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks.

Flyers rookie Tye McGinn made a debut of sorts -- he got his first career NHL goal, getting a tip-in with 1:09 left in the first period. Ruslan Fedotenko and Coburn got the assists.

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov got an assist and stopped 30 shots to earn the victory.

Panthers goalie Jose Theodorre, meanwhile, was pulled after a first period in which he stopped only 8 of 11 shots. Backup Scott Clemmensen came in and allowed four goals in the last two periods, making 13 saves.

The Panthers' four-game skid of zero points is their first since April 8, 2011.

Their only goal Saturday came after they trailed 4-0. Peter Mueller took a feed from Ed Jovanovski and scored a breakaway goal. But the Flyers got the tally back just 37 seconds later on a goal by Luke Schenn.

The Panthers, who don't play again until Tuesday, are now desperate for a win.

"It's going to be a miserable couple of days," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "To come off an embarrassing loss at home, you don't want that for your fans."

Jovanovski said there is a long list of things the Panthers are doing wrong.

"One thing that needs to be a constant for our team is hard work," he said, "and there wasn't any."

NOTES: Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann, who scored Florida's only goal in Thursday's loss to Ottawa, suffered a laceration on top of his foot during that game. The injury, which required stitches, apparently happened when he got stepped on but Fleischmann still managed to play on Saturday. ... Panthers center Quinton Howden made his NHL debut on Saturday. Howden, 21, was the Panthers' first-round pick in 2010, the 25th overall selection. ... Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja, 37, was recalled from the AHL, although he did not play Saturday. He was promoted to help replace Andrej Meszaros, who is out with a shoulder injury. ... Panthers forwards Stephen Weiss (lower-body injury) and Kris Versteeg (groin) also sat out the game. It was the second straight game Weiss has missed. Versteeg has yet to play this year, and both are members of the Panthers' top line. ... Two members of the Panthers' second line -- Marcel Goc and Sean Bergenheim -- have yet to play this season, either. ... Entering Saturday, the Flyers had given up seven goals in 20 short-handed situations. ... Next up for the Panthers is a game on Tuesday against division-rival Tampa Bay. ... Tampa is also the Flyers' next opponent, with Philadelphia visiting the Lightning on Sunday.
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