Cechmanek delivers shutout his way


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Often criticized for his unconventional
style, Roman Cechmanek again made all the saves in a crucial game.

Cechmanek stopped 28 shots and Michal Handzus scored the only
goal as the Philadelphia Flyers evened their series with a 1-0
victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals is
Saturday in Ottawa.

"It doesn't matter if it's a shutout or 5-4, it's the playoffs
and we need to win,'' Cechmanek said.

After losing Game 1, Cechmanek was brilliant in a 33-save
performance in a 2-0 road victory Sunday night. He stopped 24
shots, allowing an overtime goal on a shot he never saw in a 3-2
loss Tuesday night.

Cechmanek has stopped 131 of 135 shots in the five games
following a loss during the playoffs.

"He answered the bell again,'' Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said.
"Today, the roller coaster was on the start position. We'll see
where it is Saturday.''

Faced with the possibility of going to Ottawa down 3-1, the
Flyers didn't allow the Senators many scoring chances in Game 4.
They clogged the neutral zone, and kept Ottawa out of the offensive
zone, especially late in the game.

Cechmanek made a tumbling chest save on a shot by Magnus
Arvedson that was headed toward an empty net with just over seven
minutes left, and Philadelphia's defensive pressure shut down the
Senators the rest of the way.

Cechmanek's best save of the first two periods came when he
stopped Martin Havlat's point-blank backhander with his right pad
early in the second.

"He did it again,'' Flyers captain Keith Primeau said of
Cechmanek. "We expect that from him. Roman is in a groove and we
have to ride that.''

Handzus gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 2:54 left in the first
period, deflecting a shot by Chris Therien into the top left
corner. It was Handzus' first playoff goal in 34 games.

Handzus won a faceoff and passed the puck back to Therien, who
wristed a shot from just inside the blue line. With two defenders
draped on him, Handzus got the blade of his stick on the puck,
sending it over Patrick Lalime's shoulder.

"They ran interference,'' Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
said. "He was my point and I was unable to get out and it hit a
stick. It was the kind of goal that is going to win this game.''

Lalime had 25 saves. He made a chest stop on a point-blank shot
by Kim Johnsson minutes after stopping a one-timer from the slot by
Jim Vandermeer midway through the second period.

Johnsson hit the post during a power-play a few minutes later.

"It's the best-of-three now. The next game is the biggest
one,'' Lalime said. "Momentum is not important. A new game is new

The Flyers didn't get a shot in their only power-play
opportunity, and are 0-for-10 with the man advantage in this

Ottawa, which beat the New York Islanders in five games in the
opening round, has never advanced past this round, losing twice

The Flyers lost to Ottawa in the first round last year, scoring
a record-low two goals in five games. Philadelphia played the
equivalent of nine games -- seven games and seven overtimes -- in its
first-round victory over Toronto.

"There's a price to pay to win,'' Hitchcock said. "We're not
going away. We had to elevate our game and we did.''

Game notes
Ottawa hasn't scored a first-period goal in this series.
... After playing his first game of the series in Game 3, Flyers
enforcer Todd Fedoruk was scratched. RW Radovan Somik took his
spot. ... The Flyers spent Wednesday night at a hotel in downtown
Philadelphia to avoid distractions. They also did it before beating
Toronto in Game 7 of their first-round series. ... Philadelphia
hasn't lost consecutive playoff games this season. ... The Senators
are 11-13 in one-goal playoff games.