SUNRISE, Fla. – Nathan Horton had his first career three-goal game to help the Florida Panthers snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

Horton has seven goals in seven games since returning from a knee injury.

Gary Roberts added two goals for the Panthers, who won for only the fourth time in their last 22 games. Martin Gelinas and Juraj Kolnik also scored.

Adam Hall, Scottie Upshall and Steve Sullivan scored for Nashville, which has lost three consecutive games in regulation for the first time all season.

The Panthers spoiled the first NHL start for Predators goalie Brian Finley, who was pressed into duty when scheduled starter Chris Mason pulled a groin in pregame warmups.

Finley, recalled from Hamilton of the AHL last Friday when No. 1 goalie Tomas Vokoun sprained his right knee, made 33 saves.

Roberto Luongo made stopped 30 shots for Florida.

Florida snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period with four straight goals, including Gelinas’ power-play goal. It was the second power-play goal for the Panthers, who were 0-for-8 with the man advantage in their previous two games.

Horton gave Florida the lead for good at 9:45 of the second period when he intercepted a clearing attempt and beat Finley with a wrist shot high on the short side. Roberts scored his second goal of the game 47 seconds later on a wraparound.

Horton closed out the second-period scoring 58 seconds later when he skated in from the side and slid a low shot right inside the right post. He completed his hat trick at 11:21 of the third period with a wrist shot that gave Florida a 7-1 lead.

Notes: With only one healthy goalie, D Jamie Allison dressed as Finley’s backup. … Finley’s only other NHL action came in relief of Vokoun on Jan. 1, 2003, against Colorado when he allowed three goals in 47 minutes. … Florida was penalized twice in the first period for delay of game after players shot the puck into the stands while trying to clear the zone. … Nashville D Danny Markov returned after missing seven games with a groin strain. … Florida C Joe Nieuwendyk sat out the game because of back problems. He missed 15 games earlier this season because of his back.

AP-ES-12-13-05 2140EST

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