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Big stick hat trick
Red-hot Bure scores 3 goals as Panthers tie Flyers
Posted: Wednesday January 27, 1999 12:45 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Pavel Bure scores like Mario Lemieux and skates like Pat LaFontaine. The end result is goals, goals, goals.
Bure scored three goals, giving him six in three games since being traded to Florida, as the Panthers tied the Philadelphia Flyers 3-3 Tuesday night.
"You've got to remember that he's not even in game shape yet," said Ray Whitney, who assisted on Bure's first goal. "I mean, he's played three games in nine months. Wait until he starts playing 25 minutes a game."
Bure, a season-long holdout in Vancouver who was traded to the Panthers on Jan. 17, erased Philadelphia's 2-0 lead with his 10th career hat trick. His brilliant performance included an incredible goal from a flat angle in the corner that tied it 3-3 with 12 minutes left in the third.
One might say Bure was a real pain for the Flyers, who lost goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck after a collision with the goal post with 23 seconds remaining in regulation left him with a bruised right buttock.
Ron Hextall replaced him and didn't face a shot. Florida's Sean Burke stopped 27 of 30 shots, ending Eric Lindros' goal-scoring streak at seven games.
There was no stopping Bure.
"We just talked about giving Pavel Bure the puck and letting him score," Florida coach Terry Murray said. "... It's been a wonderful three games with him already."
Bure slapped in his first goal off a rebound on Whitney's shot, cutting Philadelphia's lead to 2-1 with 8:07 left in the first period. He was just getting warmed up.
With Lindros in the penalty box for slashing five minutes into the third, Bure was left alone behind the net. He sneaked to the side of the crease and tipped in Robert Svehla's half-shot, half-pass from the blue line to tie it at 2-2 with 14:21 remaining.
"It's no surprise," said Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins, who then gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead with his ninth goal. "He's a great player, and if you give him room, he'll make things happen."
Bure followed perhaps the easiest goal of his career with one of the most difficult imaginable.
He received a pass from Svehla at the Flyers' blue line, controlled it with his stick and skates and swooped in on Vanbiesbrouck's right. About a foot from reaching the goal line in the far corner, Bure flicked a wrist shot off the Beezer's hand and blocker pad into the net.
"I didn't know what to do with the puck," Bure said. "I took a pass and I saw that [Vanbiesbrouck] was kind of cheating and sliding to the left. He had an opening between his shoulder and the post, so I just tried to shoot the puck so it would rebound to the net."
The Flyers outshot Florida 8-1 in the first 11 minutes, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Daymond Langkow, his eighth, and Keith Jones, his 11th.
Vanbiesbrouck's collision came after the Flyers' 4-on-3 advantage was wiped out by a questionable penalty on Lindros -- holding Rob Niedermayer's stick on a faceoff -- with 1:03 left.
"Don't even ask me about the referees, I'm not going to say a word about it," Lindros said.
Niedermayer skated in on Vanbiesbrouck and was defended by Desjardins. The puck went wide of the net, but Niedermayer and Desjardins slid into Vanbiesbrouck, who was lifted off the ice and into the goal post.
Vanbiesbrouck was limping badly as he skated off the ice, and it was feared that he might be badly injured.
"My right leg got into somewhat of a spasm, and it wouldn't release," Vanbiesbrouck said. "... My rear end hit the post."
Philadelphia forward Alexander Daigle was benched after nixing a trade that would have sent him to Edmonton for Andrei Kovalenko. General manager Bob Clarke said Daigle is "not part of the team anymore. He made that decision."
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