Minnesota at Florida

Vokoun makes 22 saves to lead Panthers over Wild


SUNRISE, Fla. -- In less than a minute, the Florida Panthers took control against the Minnesota Wild.

Christopher Higgins and Mike Santorelli scored in a 53-second span in the first period, and Tomas Vokoun made 22 saves to help the Panthers beat the Wild 2-1 on Friday. It was their third straight home win.

Cal Clutterbuck scored for Minnesota, and Jose Theodore stopped 25 shots.

The Panthers opened the scoring on Higgins' goal at 6:53. Higgins picked off a pass near the blue line and brought the puck behind the net. He pushed the puck out to traffic in front, then grabbed a rebound off Theodore's glove and poked it in the left side of the net.

"You've got to be tough in your own building," Higgins said. "We want to make it tough for teams to come down here and grab points from us."

The Panthers struck again when Rostislav Olesz passed from the left circle across to Santorelli to the right of the net, setting up a wrist shot.

"It was a big start. We came out moving our feet and got two goals and the game tightened up after that," Santorelli said. "It was a hard-fought battle."

Clutterbuck scored on a power play with 3:02 left in the period. Nick Schultz took a shot from the point that Vokoun blocked, but Clutterbuck got the rebound and beat Vokoun on the stick side.

"It's tough when you put yourself in a hole like that," Clutterbuck said. "Take away the first five minutes and it was a pretty good hockey game. Sometimes you don't get the bounces to climb out of it."

The Wild was coming off a 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night.

"You need your big dogs to step up in big games," Wild coach Todd Richards said. "Coming off a loss, it's a big game."

As the game ended, Florida's Steve Bernier took a stick to the face and sustained a cut on his cheekbone, below the eye. Minnesota's Brent Burns received a fighting penalty and a game misconduct penalty at 20:00 for his role in the incident.

"I don't know how it happened. I saw he was bleeding," Burns said. "He just came at me, and maybe my glove got him, I don't know."

The extent of his injury won't be known until later, according to Florida coach Peter DeBoer.

"It looks like he got a butt end in the face," DeBoer said. "Whether there was intent there or not, that's for other people to decide. He's pretty hurt in there."


  • Florida RW Radek Dvorak became the franchise leader in games played at 574, breaking the mark set by Robert Svehla (1994-2002). Dvorak played five seasons for Florida from 1995-2000 before returning as a free agent in 2007.
  • Florida LW Cory Stillman returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a sore shoulder.
  • Minnesota D Marco Scandella, a second-round pick in 2008, made his NHL debut.
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Tomas Vokoun copes with some traffic in front of his crease, and gets some good help from Dennis Wideman. (Getty Images)
Tomas Vokoun copes with some traffic in front of his crease, and gets some good help from Dennis Wideman. (Getty Images)
Minnesota (7-6-2)1001
Florida  (7-7-0) «2002
Three Stars
M. Santorelli

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
C. Higgins

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
D. Wideman

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
06:53 - Christopher Higgins (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Kulikov, Dvorak
07:46 - Mike Santorelli (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Olesz, Wideman
16:58Power Play - Cal Clutterbuck (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Schultz, Havlat
Penalty Summary
11:02Weaver, 2 min, Holding
15:20Bernier, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
19:52Stoner, 2 min, Tripping
10:35Zanon, 2 min, Cross-Checking
13:20Stoner, 2 min, Holding
03:07Barker, 2 min, Hooking
04:25Bernier, 2 min, Boarding
20:00Allen, 2 min, Cross-Checking
20:00Clutterbuck, 2 min, Roughing
20:00Burns, 5 min, Fighting
20:00Burns, 10 min, Game Misconduct
Shots On Goal
Jose Theodore58:48252
Tomas Vokoun59:56221
Game Information
Attendance - 15043
Referees - Steve Kozari, Bill McCreary
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Andy McElman
Other Games
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NJ 4
Colo 5 Final
Colu 1
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Pitt 5
Cal 4 Final
Pho 5
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