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Stumpel scores twice to lead Panthers to first road win

Oct 26, 2006 - 1:50 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Jozef Stumpel did a terrific job of finishing what he started for the Florida Panthers.

Stumpel scored a pair of goals and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester collected two assists to lead the Panthers to a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers.

After dropping all four encounters against New York last season, Florida won for the first time in six road contests this season and notched its second victory in its last six overall outings.

"It's huge," Stumpel said. "We need some kind of good feeling in the locker room about playing on the road and hopefully we get the first one behind us and we're just going to continue this style of game and keep winning more games on the road."

"It's a matter of getting some points," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "It's a matter of getting our team playing the way it's capable of playing. I thought that we got a good response from the players today."

Stumpel, who failed to score a goal in his first six games, has netted five in his last five contests. He opened the scoring with a power-play tally at 8:52 of the first period by taking Bryan Allen's setup feed in the slot and shooting the puck between goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's legs.

"It came pretty quick and I was right on top," Stumpel said. "I get the pass from the left side and I shoot right away and it went in the net."

After New York cut the deficit to 3-2 in the third period, Stumpel sealed the victory with 3:29 remaining when he batted in a rebound of Olli Jokinen's shot inside the left post.

Gregory Campbell snapped a 1-1 tie for Florida at 4:10 of the second period when he redirected Rostislav Olesz's pass inside the left goalpost for his fourth career goal and second against the Rangers.

The Panthers widened the margin to 3-1 nearly 2 1/2 minutes later when Juraj Kolnik made a steal from defenseman Michael Rozsival at the left boards, skated toward Lundqvist and lifted the puck over his glove for his fourth tally of the season.

"What we were trying to do was put the puck behind the D," Kolnik said. "We knew we could get the puck back or just waiting to see if they were going to turn the puck over. That was our plan."

"You're never happy with an individual mistake," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "But you don't leave each other stranded like that either. It is still a function of playing a team game even though there might be individual mistakes by good positioning."

Ed Belfour won his 459th game - second behind Patrick Roy on the all-time list - by making 35 saves for his second victory of the season.

"I've had it both ways in my career," Belfour said. "There are some teams where (they take) 12 or 13 shots and sometimes those games can be difficult to play, too. When you get 30-plus shots, sometimes it keeps you in the game."

"He was solid," Martin said. "He shows a lot of composure, a lot of experience."

Petr Prucha tied the score for New York, 1-1, at 3:34 of the second period by knocking in a rebound of Brendan Shanahan's quick shot from the doorstep over Belfour's left shoulder.

Martin Straka netted his fourth of the campaign with 6:50 to go in th third by taking Aaron Ward's feed at the blueline, skated around defenseman Mike Van Ryn and fired the puck past a diving Belfour, cutting the margin to 3-2.

Lundqvist stopped 20 shots for his fourth loss in six decisions for the Rangers, who fell to 2-4-0 at home.

"I'm not happy," Lundqvist said. "This a game we needed to win and should have won. We played well, but just made some unfortunate mistakes in our own zone."

"We are uptight. We are not loose," Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr said. "Confidence comes with victories or some good plays. Confidence is built on good plays and winning the hockey games. Those two things come together."






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