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Florida 2, Detroit 2
Posted: Friday January 31, 2003 01:41 AM
Florida Panthers
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Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT (Ticker) -- The All-Star break is coming at a good time for the Detroit Red Wings.

Viktor Kozlov scored 7:30 into the third period, lifting the Florida Panthers into a 2-2 tie with the slumping Red Wings, who head into the break with just one win in their last six games.

Darren McCarty's breakaway goal gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead midway through the second period, but Kozlov grabbed a rebound of Niklas Hagman's shot and ripped a slapper past Manny Legace from the left faceoff circle.

"I thought it was a good point for us," Florida coach Mike Keenan said. "I thought we outplayed them and probably deserved two points. They had spectacular goaltending, as did we, but I thought the best chances were in our favor."

Detroit did extend its unbeaten streak against the Panthers to 10 games (5-0-5) but squandered a pair of one-goal leads and fell to 1-3-1-1 in its last six overall. The Red Wings are winless in their last three (0-2-1) and finished January just 5-7-1-1.

"This month has been a grind," Detroit coach Dave Lewis said. "It's been hard physically and emotionally. It's a month that I'm glad we're rid of."

"I think we were shocked by the way they came out," Legace added. "They came at us strong and they did that the whole game. They were very energetic."

Prior to the game, the Panthers traded All-Star defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim as part of a four-player deal.

"We found out about it (the trade) at a meeting before the game," Florida rookie defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "Sandis and Lance (Ward) were two popular guys, so it's tough, but that's the business."

Hagman had a pair of assists for the Panthers, who snapped a five-game road losing streak. Pavel Datsyuk's power-play goal gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead with 6:22 left in the first, but Andreas Lilja tied it with just 48 seconds to play in the period.

Datsyuk, who missed 18 contests with a knee injury, scored his first goal since November 3, ending a 21-game drought.

Detroit's Brett Hull led all players with 10 shots but was held scoreless for the fourth straight game - two shy of his season high. He still needs one goal to become the sixth player in NHL history to score 700.

Hull's last chance came with 38 seconds left in overtime, when Roberto Luongo made an easy pad save of his shot from deep in the left circle.

Luongo was happy he did not go into the record books as the goaltender who gave up Hull's 700th goal.

"He's scored on me every game I've played against him, so tonight, I didn't want to give him his 700th," said Luongo, who turned aside 33 shots. "Mission accomplished, but the point in the standings is even more important."

Detroit outshot Florida, 5-2, in the extra period.

"The break comes at a good time for us," Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It gives us a chance for some guys to heal and it's a good break mentally, too. We need some rest. We have to get things going again. You have this every season. The challenge is how you respond."

"I'm angry and I think they (players) are, too," Lewis said. "It's not just one thing. It's effort, mental fatigue, travel. I just want to get back in touch with solid play from everyone, not just a group of players."

Florida had a chance to win it in the first minute of overtime, but Legace, who had 35 saves, made a pad save on Olli Jokinen's deflection in front. Two minutes later, Detroit's Kris Draper was stopped on a partial breakaway.

Florida is 4-8-10 in a league-high 22 overtime games and Detroit moved to 7-2-8.