Nashville at Florida

Horton contributes to Panthers win with first career hat trick

CBS wire reports

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Nathan Horton has put a knee injury behind him in a big way for the Florida Panthers.

Horton had his first career three-goal game to help the Panthers snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

Horton has seven goals in seven games after missing 10 games with the knee injury.

"It's a pretty nice feeling," Horton said. "I felt like there was no one on me. I just tried to get it to the net and it went in every time."

He has 14 goals in 22 games, matching his rookie total in 55 games in 2003-04.

"I think he's a great kid with a lot of talent," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "It's nice for him to have some reward for his hard work."

Gary Roberts added two goals for the Panthers, who won for only the fourth time in their last 22 games. Martin Gelinas and Juraj Kolnik also scored.

"It was nice to see some pucks go into the net," Roberts said. "We've struggled offensively. It was nice to get some goals tonight and a big win for our team."

Adam Hall, Scottie Upshall and Steve Sullivan scored for Nashville, which has lost three consecutive games in regulation for the first time all season.

The Panthers spoiled the first NHL start for Predators goalie Brian Finley, who was pressed into duty when scheduled starter Chris Mason pulled a groin in pregame warmups.

Finley, recalled from Hamilton of the AHL last Friday when No. 1 goalie Tomas Vokoun sprained his right knee, made 33 saves.

"I'm not using Brian Finley as an excuse why we lost," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Brian didn't have a great game, but a lot of guys didn't have a great game. Brian's not the excuse."

Finley struggled after stopping 10 of 11 shots in the first period.

"I don't know what happened there," Finley said. "The first half I played pretty well, but once they scored in the second period the floodgates opened and they just kept coming. Hopefully, if there's a next time I'm in there. I'll play better."

Roberto Luongo made stopped 30 shots for Florida.

Florida snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period with four straight goals, including Gelinas' power-play goal. It was the second power-play goal for the Panthers, who were 0-for-8 with the man advantage in their previous two games.

Horton gave Florida the lead for good at 9:45 of the second period when he intercepted a clearing attempt and beat Finley with a wrist shot high on the short side. Roberts scored his second goal of the game 47 seconds later on a wraparound.

Horton closed out the second-period scoring 58 seconds later when he skated in from the side and slid a low shot right inside the right post. He completed his hat trick at 11:21 of the third period with a wrist shot that gave Florida a 7-1 lead.


  • With only one healthy goalie, D Jamie Allison dressed as Finley's backup.
  • Finley's only other NHL action came in relief of Vokoun on Jan. 1, 2003, against Colorado when he allowed three goals in 47 minutes.
  • Florida was penalized twice in the first period for delay of game after players shot the puck into the stands while trying to clear the zone.
  • Nashville D Danny Markov returned after missing seven games with a groin strain.
  • Florida C Joe Nieuwendyk sat out the game because of back problems. He missed 15 games earlier this season because of his back.
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Nathan Horton hears it from his Panthers teammates after delivering a hat trick.  (Getty Images)
Nathan Horton hears it from his Panthers teammates after delivering a hat trick. (Getty Images)
Nashville (18-7-3)1023
Florida  (10-18-4) «1427
Three Stars
N. Horton

Goals: 3
Assist(s): 0
G. Roberts

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
R. Luongo

Saves: 31
Save Pct.: .912

Related Video

Scoring Summary
05:59Power Play - Adam Hall (6), Wrist Shot - Assists: Yanic Perreault and Martin Erat
13:51Power Play - Gary Roberts (5), Tip-In - Assist: Jay Bouwmeester
09:45Nathan Horton (12), Slap Shot - Unassisted.
10:32Gary Roberts (6), Wrap Shot - Assists: Chris Gratton and Olli Jokinen
17:28Power Play - Martin Gelinas (7), Slap Shot - Assists: Olli Jokinen and Rostislav Olesz
18:26Nathan Horton (13), Wrist Shot - Assists: Jozef Stumpel and Rostislav Olesz
03:04Juraj Kolnik (7), Slap Shot - Assists: Gregory Campbell and Sean Hill
11:21Nathan Horton (14), Wrist Shot - Assists: Stephen Weiss and Martin Gelinas
12:15Scottie Upshall (2), Tip-In - Assist: Darcy Hordichuk
12:52Power Play - Steve Sullivan (12), Snap Shot - Assists: Yanic Perreault and Dan Hamhuis
Penalty Summary
01:33Weiss: Delay of Game - 2 min.
05:45Bouwmeester: Hooking - 2 min.
07:01Horton: Hooking - 2 min.
10:18Upshall: High sticking - 2 min.
10:18Gratton: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
12:57Zidlicky: Hooking - 2 min.
14:03Stumpel: Holding - 2 min.
16:20Van Ryn: Delay of Game - 2 min.
18:50Jokinen: Boarding - 2 min.
03:04Smithson: Interference - 2 min.
04:23Bouwmeester: Hooking - 2 min.
13:08Hill: Interference - 2 min.
15:51Hall: Tripping - 2 min.
12:15Cairns: Roughing - 2 min.
Nashville81016 34
Florida111713 41
Attendance - 14827
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Blaine Angus, Kerry Fraser
Line Judges - Thor Nelson, Vaughan Rody
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