Lecavalier strike puts Tampa up 2-0

Posted: Monday, April 26, 2004

TAMPA, Fla. Cory Sarich flicked the bouncing puck into the neutral zone, hoping to keep it away from the Montreal Canadiens. He wound up giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a whole lot more.

Vincent Lecavalier caught up to the pass at the blue line, swooped in on Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore and scored his second goal Sunday, virtually assuring the top-seeded Lightning would go up 2-0 in their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.

''I didn't know Vinny was there,'' Sarich said. ''I knew they had three guys coming up, so I was just getting it out there.''

Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 26 shots to improve to 6-1 in the playoffs, and Lecavalier scored twice for the second straight game as the Lightning won 3-1 and put the Canadiens into a deep hole for the second series in a row

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Montreal.

Flyers 2, Maple Leafs 1

PHILADELPHIA Robert Esche stole another game for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Esche made 26 saves and Alexei Zhamnov scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, helping Philadelphia take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Toronto.

The Flyers have never lost a best-of-seven series in which they won the first two games, going 16-0.

Despite getting captain Mats Sundin back, the Leafs couldn't generate much offense, getting their only goal from enforcer Tie Domi.

Flyers tough guy Donald Brashear also scored.

Zhamnov put the Flyers ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal with 11:35 remaining. His shot from the side of the net trickled between goaltender Eddie Belfour's legs.

Belfour stopped 22 shots.

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