That, coupled with New Jersey's 3-1 loss to Boston, earned the
title for Philadelphia and set up a meeting with the Devils.
"We know there's a lot more confidence in our team right now in
playing the New Jersey Devils than there was a year ago,"
Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The Flyers, who edged New Jersey 101 points to 100, will have
home-ice advantage against the Stanley Cup champions. There was no
reaction on the Philadelphia bench when the game reached overtime
and the division was secured.
"This is a team that has been our nemesis for a long time. It's
our turn to take a whack at them," Hitchcock said.
Johnsson made it possible by ripping a shot past rookie goalie
Wade Dubielewicz from the blue line off a pass from Branko
Radivojevic that Johnsson called perfect.
The Flyers were in good shape before their game started. As the
national anthem played, New Jersey fell behind 1-0. The lead grew
to two before the first puck was dropped.
"We knew the score in the Boston game, so we told each other to
go out there and play like it was Game 7," Johnsson said.
Dubielewicz was sharp, for the most part, in his first NHL start
and second appearance -- both against Philadelphia. He made 33 saves
Sunday after stopping 14 shots in a win over the Flyers on March
He was perfect that night after replacing injured starter Garth
Snow after the first period.
Keith Primeau was the first to score on the 20th shot against
him at 7:33. Dubielewicz's best stop came when he turned away John
LeClair's breakaway during a second-period power play.
Jeremy Roenick also scored for Philadelphia.
The game became insignificant for the Islanders on Saturday when
they locked up the No. 8 seed and a first-round playoff matchup
with East champion Tampa Bay. Because of that, defenseman Kenny
Jonsson and regular goalie Rick DiPietro were given the game off.
Robert Esche, who figured to be the Flyers' No. 1 goalie in the
playoffs, continued to struggle with long shots. He is 1-4-1 in his
last six games, allowing 16 goals.
A third-period drive from center ice jumped on him and caused
some trouble that he laughed off.
"There's a lot of things I'm sure don't look pretty, but I feel
really confident going into the playoffs," he said.
The next loss he suffers might be his starting job. Sean Burke
was impressive in his last start, a 2-0 victory Thursday at
Montreal. Hitchcock said he wouldn't name a starting goalie until
Monday, but added he wasn't bothered by Esche's play against the
Hamrlik tied it 1-1 with a screened shot from the right point
that struck the post before ricocheting in off Esche's back.
Fellow defenseman Aucoin beat Esche from the other point 3:57
later during New York's second power play. Aucoin rocketed a high
shot that struck Primeau, who dived in front of the drive, and went
in off the crossbar at 14:21.
Esche had 23 saves.<
Aucoin, who set career highs this season with 43 points and 30
assists, has scored nine of his 13 goals in the past 10 games.
"When you're scoring and things go in, you just have to keep
shooting," he said. "I've always been a streaky scorer."
Dubielewicz handed Philadelphia the tying score in the closing
seconds of the first period, turning the Islanders' only
unsuccessful power play of the game into a short-handed goal.
Dubielewicz went out to get a puck in the right corner, but
whiffed when he tried to pass to Aucoin behind his net.
Roenick grabbed the puck and calmly skated to the empty net and
deposited his 19th goal, and first since returning four games ago
from a concussion and fractured jaw that kept him out of 19
^Notes:@ It was the fourth time this season New York had three
power-play goals and first against a playoff team. ... Philadelphia
hadn't allowed more than two man-advantage goals in a game, and had
killed off 40 of 45 short-handed chances the previous 11 games. ...
Primeau sustained a concussion the same night as Roenick and missed