<
>

Flyers send series to Game 7

5/22/2004

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.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Tampa. The winner will play the
Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup finals, beginning Tuesday.

"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.

The Flyers are seeking their eighth trip to the Cup finals, and
first since getting swept by Detroit in 1997. The Lightning, in the
playoffs for just the third time in the franchise's 12 seasons,
have never reached the Cup finals.

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.