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NHL: Florida 4, Carolina 1

April 7, 2012 at 10:20 PM   |   Comments

SUNRISE, Fla., April 7 (UPI) -- Scott Clemmensen allowed only a third-period goal Saturday, helping Florida wrap up the Southeast Division title with a 4-1 win over Carolina.

The Panthers' 94 points were bested by five teams in the Eastern Conference, but they were enough to bring Florida the first division crown in franchise history. Florida finished two points in front of Washington.

Florida will enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed thanks to the division crown and will have home-ice advantage in the opening round against New Jersey.

The Panthers had lost five in a row before winning on the final day of the regular season. They built a 3-0 lead through three periods on goals by Marcel Goc, John Madden and Stephen Weiss.

Joni Pikanen produced Carolina's only goal 8:26 into the third and Mikael Samuelsson tacked on an empty-net tally with 1:24 to go.

Clemmensen made 34 saves, while Florida put three goals past Brian Boucher on 25 shots.

The Florida franchise began operation in 1993 and this will be its fourth post-season trip. The Panthers had not been to the playoffs since 2000.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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