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Tomas Vokoun stops 33 shots for shutout, Panthers beat Islanders 2-0

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

SUNRISE, Fla. - Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun must be sorry to see January end.

Vokoun stopped 33 shots to earn his seventh shutout this season and the Panthers beat the slumping New York Islanders 2-0 on Sunday.

Jordan Leopold and Keith Ballard scored for the Panthers, who have won seven of 11.

Vokoun had four shutouts in January, with his previous one coming Jan. 23 against Toronto, when he made 39 saves in a 2-0 win. His seven shutouts this season are a career high.

Vokoun and New Jersey's Martin Brodeur are tied for the NHL lead in shutouts. Brodeur earned his seventh of the season when he stopped 22 shots to beat Florida on Jan. 20.

"We played pretty well and we got the two points, so that's all you can ask for," Vokoun said.

Rick DiPietro made 23 saves for the Islanders, who have lost five straight.

"The key for us is to stay upbeat, stay positive," DiPietro said. "Take the things that we did well from this game and move on. There's no time to pout. It's about getting back on track and winning as many games as you can going into the stretch."

Vokoun's shutout bid was nearly spoiled early in the third period after an Islanders shot hit the post. The puck then appeared to hit Vokoun and cross the goal-line as New York's Freddy Meyer crashed into the net. Play stopped for about five minutes for a review, but no goal was awarded.

Ballard stretched Florida's lead to 2-0 when he scored with 9.6 seconds left in the second period. He one-timed a pass from Cory Stillman past DiPietro for his fourth goal of the season and first since Dec. 31.

"It's a huge goal," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "Goals in the last minute of a period either way are big swings. That was a big one. ... It was nice to get rewarded for the period we played because we created a lot of opportunities, I thought, in the second and hadn't finished any."

Leopold had a power-play goal at 15:45 in the first. He took a pass from Michael Frolik and scored with a wrist shot.

David Booth, playing his first game since October, also had an assist on Leopold's goal. Booth fanned on his first shot, then spun around to pick up the puck again. His second attempt hit the left post, but Frolik grabbed the puck and fed it to Leopold.

"It was exciting," Booth said. "It felt like October again. You just jump right back into the flow and it's a good feeling."

Booth was carted off the ice on a stretcher Oct. 24 after suffering a concussion on a hard hit by Flyers captain Mike Richards. The 25-year-old forward missed 45 games because of the injury.

"All the guys have been behind me since the injury and that's carried me through this," Booth said.

Booth had a career-high 31 goals and 29 assists for Florida last season. He had two goals and an assist in the nine games he played before his injury this season.

"It's just a first step," Booth said. "I have to keep pushing myself to get back where I want to be."

NOTES: Hall of Famer Gordie Howe attended the game. ... Florida LW Kenndal McArdle was reassigned to Rochester (AHL). ... Florida won the season series 3-1.


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