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Devils, Panthers Skate To Tie

The push by the NHL to increase scoring might finally be taking root if the game Saturday between the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils is an indication of things to come.

After a placid first period, the teams combined for six second-period goals in a 3-3 tie. Rob Niedermayer of the Panthers scored the tying goal to cap the frantic 20 minutes in which the teams combined for 29 shots.

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  • "The game has gotten more offensive," said Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko."They've talked about it and it slowly seems that it's happening. "

    "Both teams got some scoring opportunities and we were burying them in the second period."

    Dave Gagner and Ray Whitney also scored for Florida, which played a second straight tie.

    Sergei Brylin, Denis Pederson and Petr Sykora had the Devils' goals as New Jersey extended its unbeaten streak against Florida to five games (3-0-2).

    The tempo picked up the second period following a scoreless first in which the Devils held a modest 7-4 edge in shots.

    Brylin started the onslaught with a power-play goal at 3:44. The Panthers countered with goals by Gagner and Whitney in a span of 40 seconds for a 2-1 lead. Gagner scored unassisted at 4:21 and Whitney rifled a shot from the left faceoff dot over goalie Martin Brodeur's left shoulder.

    Pederson and Sykora scored the next two as New Jersey moved ahead 3-2. Pederson converted a centering feed from Jay Pandolfo at 6:28. Sykora poked in a rebound of a Kevin Dean shot that dropped at the feet of goalie Kirk McLean at 11:07.

    Niedermayer backhanded the rebound of Scott Mellanby's shot to pull the Panthers even at 3-3 with a power-play goal at 14:23. "There was a lot more room out there than I thought there was going to be," said the younger brother of Devils' defenseman Scott Niedermayer. "It was a pretty good tempo out there."

    In the third period, Florida wasted a great opportunity when Lyle Odelein and Vadim Sharifijanov got penalties for slashing Ed Jovanovski at 8:59. The Panthers got only two shots on the five-on-three power play.

    "That was huge," Daneyko said. "I was hoping that killing the five-on-three for a full two minutes would give us the momentum to go get a goal and win the game. Maybe we were just too tired after that."

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