12/10/96 -- 10:39 PM


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eric Lindros, Joel Otto and John LeClair each had a goal and an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers won their third straight, 5-4, over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

The Flyers, 4-0-1 in their last five, also got goals from Scott Daniels and Eric Desjardins. All five goals were allowed by John Vanbiesbrouck, who entered the game with a league-best 1.67 goals-against average.

Ray Sheppard, Martin Straka, Jason Podollan and Scott Mellanby scored for Florida as the Panthers lost for only the third time in 14 road games this season (8-3-3).

The Panthers, who trailed 5-2 with 7:43 left in the game, rallied to make it 5-4 on Mellanby's 11th goal of the season on the power play with 1:47 left in the game, but couldn't get the equalizer.

Florida's lead in the Atlantic Division over second-place Philadelphia was cut to seven points as the Flyers evened the season series at two wins apiece.

The Flyers outshot the Panthers 12-7 in the first period and came away with a 2-0 lead.

Otto opened the scoring at 7:53 when he slapped in the rebound of Pat Falloon's shot from in close.

Daniels made it 2-0 midway through the first period. He slipped past Panthers defenseman Gord Murphy and deflected a pass from the left corner past Vanbiesbrouck.

The Panthers cut the lead to one with a power-play goal four minutes into the second period. A giveaway by the Flyers in the Florida end produced a 2-on-1 for Straka and Sheppard.

Straka waited before passing to Sheppard, who beat Ron Hextall with a short, low shot just inside the glove-side post.

But Philadelphia scored the second period's other two goals to take a 4-1 lead into the third.

Desjardins gave the Flyers a two-goal lead at 5:19 when he moved in from the point, took a pass from behind the net and lifted a 25-footer over Vanbiesbrouck.

Philadelphia's fourth goal, which came at 15:48 of the period, was disputed but allowed to stand following replay review.

LeClair's pass from behind the net popped into the air in front of Vanbiesbrouck. An onrushing Renberg pushed Mellanby, the puck and Vanbiesbrouck into the Florida net. The goal was credited to LeClair.

Three goals were scored - two by Florida, one by Philadelphia - in a 1:11 span in the middle of the third period.

Podollan scored his first NHL goal when he shoved home a rebound on the power play at 11:32, Lindros scored on a breakaway at 12:17, and Straka made it 5-3 with a chip-in goal at 12:43.

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