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Flyers ride rookie

Niittymaki in control as Devils lose more ground

Antero Niittymaki has made a strong case for more playing time. The rookie goaltender stopped 35 shots for his third win in as many starts, leading the Flyers over the New Jersey Devils, 4-1, last night in Philadelphia.

But Niittymaki's playing time will decrease because Philadelphia acquired veteran goalie Sean Burke from Phoenix Monday to step in until Robert Esche returns from a knee injury.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Niittymaki said. "It's been fun."

Simon Gagne and Danny Markov scored power-play goals, and Michal Handzus and Mark Recchi also scored for Philadelphia, which extended its lead to 7 points over New Jersey in the Atlantic Division. The Devils, though, have played three fewer games.

Scott Niedermayer scored for New Jersey, which has lost two straight. The Flyers have won three in a row and seven of nine.

If this was Niittymaki's final start for a while, he certainly left an impression, outplaying eight-time All-Star Martin Brodeur (23 saves) to earn a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at the Wachovia Center.

Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 4 -- Gary Roberts scored with 44.4 seconds left in the third period, giving Toronto a tie in Tampa.

Roberts's score completed a two-goal third-period comeback. The Lightning had taken a 4-2 lead when Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards scored 50 seconds apart early in the period.

Panthers 2, Canadiens 1 -- At Sunrise, Fla., Viktor Kozlov set a Florida record with two goals in seven seconds in the second period in interim coach John Torchetti's debut.

Senators 3, Blues 1 -- Marian Hossa scored two of host Ottawa's three first-period goals, and the Senators broke a season-high three-game losing streak.

Islanders 1, Avalanche 1 -- Colorado's Paul Kariya and New York's Mariusz Czerkawski each netted second-period goals in the draw in Denver.

Sabres 2, Sharks 1 -- Daniel Briere scored twice and Martin Biron made 27 saves, guiding host Buffalo past San Jose.

Flames 5, Thrashers 2 -- Dean McAmmond and Jarome Iginla each scored twice as host Calgary extended Atlanta's winless streak to nine games.

Kings 3, Wild 1 -- Trent Klatt scored midway through the third for Minnesota to break a tie, and Roman Cechmanek's 22 saves held off visiting Los Angeles.

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