Lightning strike Islanders

Posted: Friday, April 09, 2004

TAMPA, Fla. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 30 shots, and Tampa Bay shut down the New York Islanders to take the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series opener 3-0 Thursday.

Fredrik Modin scored two goals, and little-used Andre Roy gave Tampa Bay an unexpected lift with an unassisted goal that snapped a scoreless tie against Rick DiPietro, New York's young and confident goaltender.

Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, the NHL scoring champion this season, was limited to just two shots both in the third period and misfired on his best scoring chance of the night when he hit the crossbar on a breakaway in the first period.

The Lightning will host Game 2 on Saturday.

Flyers 3, Devils 2

PHILADELPHIA Robert Esche made 37 saves in his first postseason start, helping the Philadelphia Flyers beat the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of their first-round series.

Simon Gagne, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau scored for the Flyers, who finished one point ahead of the Devils to win the Atlantic Division and earn home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Patrik Elias and Jan Hrdina scored New Jersey's goals 35 seconds apart in the third period after the Flyers took a 3-0 lead.

Martin Brodeur didn't have one of his usual dominant playoff performances, allowing three goals on 26 shots.

Senators 4, Maple Leafs 2

TORONTO Marian Hossa scored twice and Ottawa beat Toronto in the playoff series opener.

Bryan Smolinski and Wade Redden also scored for the Senators, who are playing the rival Maple Leafs in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Ottawa, which held a 30-17 shots advantage, was eliminated by Toronto the three previous series.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Toronto.

Joe Nieuwendyk and Bryan McCabe scored for the Maple Leafs, an Original Six team that hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

Martin Havlat had two assists for the Senators, who came within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup finals last season.

Sharks 1, Blues 0, OT

SAN JOSE, Calif. Niko Dimitrakos scored 9:16 into overtime, and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 shots to lead San Jose over St. Louis in the opener of their first-round playoff series.

Nabokov earned the second playoff shutout of his career, playing flawlessly behind the Sharks' sturdy defense. He also won a duel with Blues goalie Chris Osgood, a former Stanley Cup winner who stopped 28 shots.

Game 2 is Saturday, followed by back-to-back games in St. Louis on Monday and Tuesday.

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