Scott Clemmensen's first game with the Florida Panthers was a success, thanks in large part to the continued shorthanded prowess of teammate Radek Dvorak.
Dvorak scored a shorthanded goal for the second game in a row and Clemmensen turned aside 25 shots to help the Panthers put an end to a four-game losing streak and beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2, on Friday at BankAtlantic Center.
Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton scored to wipe out one-goal leads by the Flyers and Steven Reinprecht added an empty-net goal as the Panthers won for the first time since a shootout victory over Chicago in Helsinki, Finland, as part of the 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere to open the season.
"We'll take anything we can get right now," Weiss said. "It was a gritty effort by everyone, just hanging in there, coming from behind a couple of times, and we got a huge goal by 'Devo' there at the end."
Aaron Asham and Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers, who are 0-2-1 following a 3-0-0 start. Emery made 24 saves.
David Booth's tripping penalty in a 2-2 game six minutes into the third period gave the Flyers an opportunity to jump back in front, but instead it was Dvorak taking advantage of Chris Pronger's inability to keep the puck in at the blue line and beating goalie Ray Emery on a breakaway at the 7:02 mark for what proved to be the winning goal.
It was Dvorak's 21st career shorthanded goal. Both of his goals this season have come with the Panthers a man down, as he also accomplished the feat in a loss to Tampa Bay on Monday.
"First of all you want to kill (the penalty). You don't look for a goal," Dvorak said. "Every time you score a goal shorthanded, it's always a bonus -- for you, for the team. But the main thing is kill the penalty first and then if you score it's a bonus for everybody."
It was certainly a bonus for Clemmensen, who had appeared in just 28 NHL games prior to last season, when he subbed for an injured Martin Brodeur in New Jersey and won 25 games for the Devils with a 2.39 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Those numbers got him a new contract with the Panthers, who lost Craig Anderson to Colorado via free agency.
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Clemmensen left the team briefly earlier this month to attend his grandmother's funeral and Tomas Vokoun started each of Florida's first five games. But Clemmensen won both his starts against the Flyers last season and got the call in net Friday.
"I was a little jumpy there in the first period," Clemmensen said. "I was anxious to get my first start. I hadn't played in a while. So I was a little nervous there -- the puck was bouncing, it wasn't helping me very much either in the first period, but I felt a lot more comfortable and a lot better from the second period on in, when I kind of calmed down and had more fun."
Asham beat Clemmensen on a backhander to open the scoring 6:35 into the first. Flyers rookie James van Riemsdyk set up the play by stripping Weiss of the puck, which allowed Asham to corral it.
Weiss atoned with a power-play goal 6:49 into the second, but Giroux answered to put the Flyers ahead 2-1 with 7:46 left in the period. Video review confirmed the puck made it across the goal line after it squeezed between Clemmensen's body and left arm.
The Panthers tied the score just before the second intermission as Horton tipped a point shot by Jordan Leopold with 54 seconds remaining in the period.
"You never want to get off on the wrong foot," Clemmensen said. "We got a big win against Chicago in Helsinki, but since then obviously we've been 0-4, and two points mean just as much now as they do coming down the stretch. We want to be right there in the playoffs, and it's going to be tight as it is every year. So no matter how you get the two points, they're very important."
One guy who still believes in what the Panthers can accomplish was in the opposing locker room, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell.
''Maybe they didn't have the best start, but remember last year we were 0-6 and we finished fifth in the standings,'' Hartnell said. ''They got a hard-working group. They got a couple of lines that can really buzz.''
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com
Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report,
Backhand shot -
James van Riemsdyk