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Panthers' home streak snapped

1/2/2004

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Mike Comrie is wasting little time in
making an impact with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Comrie scored twice in his fourth game with Philadelphia on
Friday and led the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Florida
Panthers.

"Mike's a good player," said Simon Gagne, who assisted on both
of Comrie's goals. "He's patient and he makes things happen."

Comrie was traded to the Flyers by Edmonton on Dec. 16,
following a contract dispute with the Oilers.

"As a team, we're satisfied because we re playing well,"
Comrie said. "Our line is happy we were able to contribute
offensively and defensively."

It was the Flyers' seventh consecutive road victory against
Florida, spanning four seasons.

"There are a couple of buildings where we do well," Flyers
forward Mark Recchi said. "We just played a good game in St. Louis
and we seem to do well in that building. It might be getting down
to the sun and enjoying the weather a little bit before we get
ready to play a game."

The victory was costly for the Flyers, who lost captain Keith
Primeau in the first period. Primeau broke his right thumb when he
was hit by a slap shot off the stick of Panthers defenseman Jay
Bouwmeester.

Primeau immediately lowered his right arm and skated off the
ice. He said he will visit a hand specialist once the Flyers return
to Philadelphia after the team plays at Tampa Bay on Saturday. It
was not yet determined how long the center will be out.

"He's been our best player all year," said Flyers coach Ken
Hitchcock, who indicated Primeau could miss about two to three
weeks. "He's your captain. That's what makes the team. People have
to step up."

Comrie scored his second and third goals of the season in a span
of 5:11 to help the Flyers erase a 1-0 deficit.

Rookie Nathan Horton scored for the Panthers, whose six-game
unbeaten streak (3-0-3) at home was snapped.

"I'm not nervous anymore and confidence goes a long way," said
Horton, who has seven goals. "I have lots of it right now."

Jeff Hackett finished with 29 saves for Philadelphia, playing
the sixth game of a season-high, eight-game road trip. The Flyers
are 2-2-1-1 so far.

The victory Hackett's eight-game winless streak (0-6-2).

"I've been getting points and I've had chances to win,"
Hackett said. "I think I've played well enough to win four or five
of those games, but for whatever reason it hasn't been happening.
You've got to keep battling. and hopefully I turned a corner."

Roberto Luongo stopped 21 shots for Florida.

Comrie tied it 1-1 at 4:31 of the second when Gagne's centering
pass went off Justin Williams' stick and bounced off Comrie's right
leg before sneaking between Luongo's pads.

Comrie was fortunate on his second goal, as well. Gagne fanned
on a wrist shot, and the puck slid across the goal mouth to Comrie.
He scored into the open right side of the net as Luongo was out of
position.

"Lately, it seems like all the goals scored against me have
been fluky," Luongo said. "(The first goal) was a lucky play and
unfortunately I didn't get my legs closed fast enough."

The Flyers also got a break later in the second when Florida's
Niklas Hagman picked up a loose puck to the side of the net and hit
the crossbar with a short wrist shot.

"I get one or two chances like that a game," Hagman said.
"Those are chances I have to put in if I want to play more."

Hackett preserved the lead in the third when he made a sliding
glove save on defenseman Mathieu Biron's one-timer on a centering
pass.

"I was surprised he got that one there," Biron said. "I wish
I could get that one back and try something else."

Horton gave the Panthers the lead at 18:11 of the first when he
took Matt Cullen's pass in the slot and beat Hackett with a wrist
shot to the stick side.

Game notes
Flyers D Chris Therien missed his second consecutive game
because of back spasms. He skated in pregame warmups. ... Luongo
made his 15th consecutive start. ... Florida RW Juraj Kolnik missed
his second consecutive game because of a sprained ankle. ...
Florida had gone into overtime in 10 of its previous 18 games. ...
Gagne has 17 points in 17 games against Florida.