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Keenan fired by Panthers

Mike Keenan was supposed to change the Florida Panthers' fortunes. When he couldn't, they changed coaches.

Keenan's two-year coaching stint with the Panthers ended yesterday, one day after general manager Rick Dudley told owner Alan Cohen the move was necessary. Dudley will take over on an interim basis and already has contacted candidates for the permanent job.

"It was done simply because we felt the potential of this team was such that we wanted to play at a maximum or optimal level," Dudley said.

Keenan joined the Panthers in December 2001, and last season, his first full campaign with the team, they finished 24-36-13-9.

Keenan was not available for comment yesterday, according to team officials. Attempts by the AP to reach him were not successful. Keenan, 54, led the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup championship in 1994 and coached six other NHL teams -- Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston, and the Panthers. He led Philadelphia to the finals in 1985 and 1987 and took Chicago there in 1992.

His 1,222 career regular-season games are the fourth most in NHL history, as are his 584 career wins.

Blue Jackets 4, Flames 3 -- Enforcer Jody Shelley had his first career two-goal game and host Columbus rediscovered its power play in beating Calgary. Shelley, a scar-faced tough guy who led the NHL in penalty minutes last season, had only four goals in his previous 145 games.

Columbus was 3 for 8 on the power play after failing to convert on its last 12 chances.

Avalanche 4, Blackhawks 3 -- Steve Konowalchuk scored his second goal of the game on a deflection with 5.5 seconds left in overtime to give Colorado the win in Chicago.

Mighty Ducks 2, Coyotes 1 -- Petr Sykora scored 3:43 into overtime and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves as host Anaheim edged Phoenix.

Hurricanes 1, Lightning 1 -- Marty Murray scored his first goal in a Carolina uniform and goaltender Jamie Storr held off Tampa Bay in overtime at Raleigh, N.C.

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