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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bure Scores Twice in Panthers Debut




UNIONDALE, New York -- Superstar Pavel Bure shot just four times in his Florida Panthers debut Wednesday. But the Russian Rocket scored twice, including the most spectacular play of the game for the go-ahead goal. Bure, who sat out the first half of the 1998-99 NHL season rather than play for the Vancouver Canucks and earn a guaranteed $5.6 million, led his new team to a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders, playing just a little over 12 minutes.


"I wouldn't want to play more than that yet," the blond, 189-pound (86-kilogram), 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters) right wing said with a smile. "I'm not nearly there yet. Sometimes you play well and don't score. My conditioning is nowhere near 100 percent. I'll be skating again tomorrow morning."


The 27-year-old Russian was obtained Sunday in a seven-player trade with Vancouver, for whom Bure had played seven season scoring 254 goals and 224 assists in just 428 games. Twice he reached the 60-goal plateau. Last season he scored 51 goals, second in the NHL.


The Panthers got him for goal-scoring punch, and he delivered, playing on an all-Russian line with center Viktor Kozlov and left wing Oleg Kvasha.


The best play of the night came when Florida defenseman Robert Svelha of the Czech Republic fed Bure a breakaway pass behind the Islander defense at 7:39 into the second period.


Bure skated in alone on Islander goalie Felix Potvin and faked him left, then tapped the puck into the open side of the net to the goalie's right. That broke a 1-1 tie and enabled Florida to take charge.


Bure would not say anything about his long battle with the Canucks.


"I don't want to talk about anything in Vancouver," Bure said.


Bure is negotiating a multi-year contract extension with the Panthers expected to go five years and exceed $50 million.