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Florida skates past Isles in early game

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- Roberto Luongo is using his stick, his
glove and now even his face to keep shots out of the net.

Luongo made 29 saves Monday, including a penalty-shot stop in
the third period, and earned his first non-shutout win of the
season in the Florida Panthers' 3-1 victory over the New York
Islanders.

The former first-round pick of the Islanders was sharp early,
making one save when he sprawled across the crease to deny Jason
Blake with his stick and another off a shot that struck him in the
mask by his chin.

With the Islanders already ahead 1-0 and on a power play in the
final minute of the period, rookie defenseman Tomi Pettinen let go
a hard shot that hit Luongo flush and knocked him onto his stomach.

"I was a little stung, but after a couple of minutes I was
OK," Luongo said.

He was better than that, stopping all 18 New York shots the rest
of the way. Luongo has turned aside 119 of 122 shots in Florida's
first four games and was chosen Monday as the NHL's defensive
player of the week.

Luongo (3-1) posted shutouts in the first two games, stopping 61
shots, and didn't allow a goal until a 2-1 loss Saturday to Tampa
Bay.

"Everybody believes in him, he believes in himself. As long as
you play hard defensively, he's going to make a majority of the
saves," said Florida forward Joe Nieuwendyk, a free-agent signing
this summer. "I didn't realize how good Louie was until I got
here."

The Panthers didn't score more than twice in a game before
Monday and it took an empty-netter to get to three.

Kristian Huselius and Chris Gratton scored 4:31 apart in the
second period to give Florida a rare early lead and Rostislav Olesz
sealed Florida's .500 road trip with 34.3 seconds left when he
scored his first NHL goal on his 20th birthday.

Florida could've had more early, but Rick DiPietro made a pad
stop against Niklas Hagman when he was left alone in front in the
opening minute. Juraj Kolnik then shot wide of the net when he had
a clear shot shortly after.

"You can't just focus on goals, you have to look at the number
of chances," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "I really liked
the first 10 minutes. Hagman had a great chance, you have to give
credit to their goaltender."

But his goalie was better.

Luongo's biggest test came with 14:34 left when Miroslav Satan
was given a penalty shot after he was hooked on a breakaway by
former Islanders defenseman Branislav Mezei.

Satan's low shot was steered away by Luongo's stick.

"When he goes down, there's nothing there, so I thought I could
get the shot in there quickly," Satan said. "Unfortunately, he's
too quick. I felt responsible for this game. I think I should have
put it in."

DiPietro made 20 saves and Satan scored the only goal for the
Islanders (1-2).

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead on a play that appeared promising,
broke down, and reformed to produce a goal.

After Oleg Kvasha turned over the puck near center ice, Florida
broke into the Islanders' zone on an odd-man rush. Niklas Hagman
had two skaters alongside but dumped a pass into no man's land as
he came in off the left point.

Nathan Horton got to it with only Brent Sopel back on defense
for New York. Horton got the puck across to Gratton, who easily
steered a shot into the open right side at 7:46 for his first goal.

Huselius gave Florida its first lead since the second game of
the season with his first goal at 3:15.

That marked the first goal scored by Florida that didn't come in
the third period. The Panthers scored five total goals in their
first two games, including consecutive 2-0 victories to start the
season.

Satan got his second goal in two games after going seven
preseason games and the first real one without a point. It came 15
seconds into a power play.

The Islanders stayed in the game because they were able to kill
off nine of Florida's 10 man advantages.

Game notes
Luongo has stopped all five penalty shots against him in
his career. ... Florida LW Gary Roberts played only 3:07 after
aggravating a groin injury. He is day to day.