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Flyers win in overtime

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2004

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Keith Primeau saved the Philadelphia Flyers' season. Simon Gagne gave them at least one more game.

Gagne scored his second goal with 1:42 left in overtime, leading the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night.

''I need everybody around me to help. I got that tonight,'' said Primeau, who scored twice, including the tying goal with 1:49 left in regulation.

After Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin made several outstanding saves in the extra period, the Primeau-Gagne-Jeremy Roenick line struck again in their first game together.

Primeau took a shot that hit Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina and went to Roenick, whose shot bounced to Gagne at the other side of the net. Gagne snapped a shot that hit Khabibulin and squeaked in.

''The puck went right to my stick and I shot it as hard as I could,'' Gagne said. ''I was excited when I saw that line on the board this morning.''

Sami Kapanen also had a goal for Philadelphia, which won its second overtime game of the playoffs.

Ruslan Fedotenko and Vincent Lecavalier each scored twice for the Lightning.

''If we win Game 7, this game has no bearing,'' Lightning center Tim Taylor said. ''We can't get on the plane and mope around.''

Fedotenko's first goal against his former teammates tied it at 3 in the second period. He scored on a power play from almost the same spot on a near-identical pass from Dave Andreychuk to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead with 2:27 left in the second.

But Tampa Bay seemed content to sit on the lead in the third period, and Primeau finally made them pay for it. From the left side of the net, Primeau kicked the puck through Khabibulin's pads, came around the other side and jammed it in to send the game to overtime.

''The whole line was unbelievable,'' Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said of Primeau's line. ''Keith led the charge, but he had a right wing and a left wing that were right there with him.''

Primeau, the Flyers' captain, has been dominant in the postseason, scoring nine goals in 16 games after getting nine goals in 110 playoff games coming into the year.

Now, the injury-depleted Flyers, playing without defensemen Eric Desjardins and Marcus Ragnarsson and forward Radovan Somik, are one victory away from playing for the Cup.

''This team has a special quality. It won't quit,'' Hitchcock said.

A raucous, orange-clad crowd went silent when Lecavalier scored a breakaway goal to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead just 88 seconds into the game.

But a pretty, backhanded goal by Gagne off a kick-pass from Primeau tied it at 1. Primeau then gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead with a one-timer off a perfect pass from Vladimir Malakhov.

Lecavalier's second goal tied it at 2 just 45 seconds into the second period. His slap shot sailed past Flyers defenseman Mattias Timander and just under Robert Esche's glove.

''It's disappointing, especially when you are that close,'' Lecavalier said. ''Maybe we should have pushed a little more in the third period.''

Kapanen, back at left wing after injuries forced him to play defense most of the series, gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead, scoring on a slap shot from a side angle.

Less than three minutes later, Fedotenko tied it at 3 with a slap shot from the slot. He had one goal, which came with the Flyers, in 22 playoff games, before scoring eight this postseason.

Notes: Primeau surpassed his total of seven goals in 54 regular-season games. ... Flyers D Joni Pitkanen returned after sitting out Game 5 with an ''upper-body'' injury. Somik sat out with a hand injury. ... Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was among the sellout crowd of 19,910 at the Wachovia Center. ... The Flyers are 1-for-37 on the power play, dating to Game 4 of their second-round series against Toronto. They are 1-for-24 against the Lightning. ... Tampa Bay has scored on six of its last 12 opportunities with the man-advantage.



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