Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Panthers' Rabbit Punch Is a Ko in Ot Niedermayer's Dart Lets Air out of Blues

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Panthers' Rabbit Punch Is a Ko in Ot Niedermayer's Dart Lets Air out of Blues

Article excerpt

With one laser-accurate play Thursday night, the Florida Panthers wiped out an impressive Blues comeback.

Ex-Blue Dave Lowery passed to defenseman Robert Svehla at the right point. Svehla moved it to Per Gustafsson at the left point, and Gustafsson located Rob Niedermayer in the right circle.

Niedermayer blasted the set-up past Grant Fuhr in one swift motion with 70 seconds left in overtime, giving the Panthers a stunning 3-2 victory. "I don't know if that was a great play or we made a stupid play," Fuhr said. "We obviously didn't play very smart in our end. (Niedermayer) was wide open. At that stage of the game, you can't make mistakes like that." The game-winner negated a Blues third-period rally. Down 2-0 after two periods, they got goals from Chris Pronger 1 minute 37 seconds into the third period and Brett Hull with 1:49 left in regulation. That was Hull's fifth goal in three games, his first ever against the Panthers and his 38th for the season. "Just one too few," Hull said. "That's the way it's been going." The loss extended the Blues' winless streak to five games (0-3-2). Florida won for the first time in seven games. "I know we are the team that has the most overtime games (22) in the league and we don't have much to show for it," Panthers captain Brian Skrudland said, savoring the team's third overtime victory this season. Blues coach Joel Quenneville knew his team played hard. "It was a nice comeback," he said. "It would have been a nice tie or win. It's a real tough loss. I liked the way we competed. We did a lot of good things. If we play like that every night, we'll find a way to win." Why haven't the Blues been successful? Their supplemental scoring behind the top line of Pierre Turgeon centering Hull and Geoff Courtnall has been spotty, and now second-leading scorer Jim Campbell is sidelined by a sprained thumb. Joe Murphy didn't score a goal in February. Stephane Matteau hasn't scored since Jan. 5. …

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