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Kings of the road? // Panthers say no

Published Jul. 6, 2006

The Panthers scored in the final second of the first and second periods Sunday night and continued their mastery at home with a 5-1 victory over the road-weary Los Angeles Kings.

The Panthers, winners of three straight, are 10-1-1 in their past 12 home games and 7-0-1 in their past eight at home. Florida goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck had 28 saves and is 10-1-1 at the Miami Arena, which was sold out for the first time this season.

The Kings, who got off to a 4-0-3 start, have dropped four straight on this five-game road trip. The Panthers are the only team in the NHL that Wayne Gretzky hasn't scored against.

In the waning seconds of the first period, Tony Granato's clearing pass was picked off by Robert Svehla at the blue line. His slap shot was blocked by goaltender Byron Dafoe, but Stu Barnes flicked in the rebound with .7 seconds remaining for his ninth goal. Scott Mellanby scored his team-leading 14th goal on a rebound earlier in the period.

With time running out in the second period, Jody Hull took off on a breakaway, and beat substitute goalie Kelly Hrudey with .1 seconds remaining to give the Panthers a 5-1 lead. It was Hull's seventh goal of the season and his fourth in three games.

Tikkanen suspended

VANCOUVER, British Columbia _ Esa Tikkanen, acquired by Vancouver in a Thanksgiving trade, has been suspended by the Canucks for not reporting to a game in San Jose. The 30-year-old left wing, who has played on five Stanley Cup champion teams, stayed with his family instead.

Islanders: Kirk Muller has been told to report this week if a trade can't be worked out.

General manager Don Maloney told the Canadian Press: "He is not joining the team. We will condition him and we want to ensure when the deal happens, if and when it happens, he is in peak condition."

Muller was sent home in mid-November.