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-   -   Gdt: Game 4 Lightning At Flyers 3:00 (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=78065)

FlyHigh 05-15-2004 09:31 AM

Gdt: Game 4 Lightning At Flyers 3:00
 
Scoring the first goal has become essential to the success of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Even that may not matter if Robert Esche doesn't bounce back from one of his worst games of the playoffs.

Esche and the Flyers hope to rebound from a disappointing performance and even the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4.

Coming off an impressive 6-2 victory in Game 2 and playing in front or their home fans for the first time in 11 days, the Flyers seemed poised to take control of this series Thursday.

Tampa Bay, however, beat Esche with two soft goals in the first period and Nikolai Khabibulin rebounded from a dismal performance in Game 2 with 24 saves in a 4-1 victory.

Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards added third-period goals for the Lightning, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 after improving to 5-0 on the road this postseason. Tampa Bay has outscored opponents 17-5 in five road playoff games.

"I think sometimes teams that play at home get caught up in thinking they have to put on a big show for the fans and try some big hits," Lightning center Tim Taylor said. "Sometimes, those big hits leave you out of the play. I thought that's what we tried to do in Game 2. We got down and right away the game was over."

Scoring first is always important, but doing it on the road takes on added meaning because it usually prevents the crowd from becoming a factor.

"We wanted to score first in this building and it just goes to show you in a series if you can score first, often it sets up a better night for your team," said Cory Stillman, who staked Tampa Bay to a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the playoffs.

A slow start doomed the Flyers, who have scored first in 11 of 14 playoff games, winning nine. They are 0-3 when falling behind 1-0. The Lightning, meanwhile, are 8-0 in the postseason when getting the first goal.

Philadelphia, which had won all six home games this postseason, played at the Wachovia Center for the first time since Game 5 against Toronto in the semifinals on May 2.

"We've been away from home for a while. It's like coming off a road trip," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "What I mean by tentative is sometimes you're so hungry that your puck movement at times is a little bit tentative, we got hemmed in our zone, then we got scored on, so now you're trying to scramble back from that."

After he was pulled in Game 2, Khabibulin was under pressure to be much better Thursday. He responded with an outstanding performance, stopping all 13 shots in the second period and allowing only Keith Primeau's goal 36 seconds into the third.

"I tried to relax," Khabibulin said. "I don't really think about what anyone else thinks about me. I think I felt normal for this game."

Excluding Game 2 of this series when he surrendered four goals on 12 shots, Khabibulin has allowed 11 goals in 11 games during the playoffs.

Now the heaviest burden in Game 4 falls on Esche, who allowed four goals on 26 shots, including the first two he tipped with his glove but was unable to stop from sneaking into the net.

Esche was particularly angry about the first goal of the game that Stillman scored on a fluttering wrist shot from the right circle.

"There's no disguising it, it was a bad goal," Esche said. "When you give up a goal like that early in a hockey game, it kind of takes the wind out of everyone's sails. It's just something I have to be prepared for the next game."

Esche's Game 3 performance is just one of several concerns for the Flyers heading into Saturday.

Philadelphia went scoreless on five power-play opportunities Thursday and is in a 2-for-31 slump, dating to Game 3 against Toronto. The Flyers scored six power-play goals on 20 chances in the first seven games of the playoffs after having the NHL's second-best unit in the regular season.

"We're not outworking their guys," Flyers left wing Mark Recchi said. "They get it down the ice and we don't battle enough. We have to be a lot more determined on the power play."

Already missing defenseman Eric Desjardins, the Flyers learned Friday they will be without defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson for the rest of the playoffs after he broke his left index finger early in Game 3.

Rookie Joni Pitkanen, a healthy scratch the last two games, will take Ragnarsson's spot in Game 4. Ragnarsson's injury also assures that Sami Kapanen, regularly a forward, will remain on defense for the rest of the series.

"Ragnarsson has been tremendous," Hitchcock said. "He was arguably the best defenseman for the two teams. Now other guys have to step up."

The Lightning have won six of seven against the Flyers this season, including all four meetings in the regular season.

The series moves back to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Associated Press


-------------------------------------------------------

This game is the biggest game of the season for the Flyers. Period. I do have some confidence that the veterans will come out motivated and do awfully well. This team routed Toronto in a must win in the last series as well as beating the Devils in a key game 5 to take the series.

However, the loss of Rags really complicates things. I personally would move Kaps back to forward and put him and Preems on the Richards line which has killed us. But that won't happen. However, Primeau must be put against the Richards line and he must neutralize them because they have been killers. More team defense would also help. Esche gave up a couple weak ones, but giving away a breakaway to Lecavalier 30 seconds after you score is absolutely inexcusable.

I would expect a strong effort from both clubs, a hard-fought game, and hopefully, a win.

Gags12 05-15-2004 11:46 AM

Esche will bounce back in a huge way today. I'm talking shutout baby!!

Flyers 3
Tampa 0

Goals by Rexx, Zues, and Pitkanen

Flyerswin5 05-15-2004 11:49 AM

It was so obvious that Premeau was trying and skating as hard he can. He doesn't have the skill that some of the other veterens have on the Flyers, but was the best guy on the ice (AGAIN). This brings my question. DO the others realize that this maybe their last season in the NHL? Do they realize that they have to give their all to get the Cup and that this might be their last (or best) chance. I just didn't see the heart last game. I hope I see it today.

ObeySteve 05-15-2004 11:51 AM

I'm waiting for GKJ's predictions....he seems to be amazingly accurate in big games...

*bites fingernails*

Flyman 05-15-2004 12:03 PM

This is a must-win game, plain and simple. Biggest match of the season so far!
I expect a big revenge from Escher! :yo:

GKJ 05-15-2004 12:03 PM

Flyers 3 Lightning 2 in 2 OT's

Handzus, Primeau (GWG), Zhamnov for the Flyers

St. Louis and Richards for Tampa Bay.

Flyers MUST have the lead though, if they get behind the Lightning again, it will be a long day. I think Esche knows his play has to be better than it was in Game 3. Had he been on his game, its a 2-1 game and the strategy is totally different. If this becomes a track meet though the Flyers are going to get blown out, as they did in Game 3.

Quellet The Dogs Out 05-15-2004 12:13 PM

Yeah there is no other option than to win. JR and Prims and Amonte want the cup badly - and they will bring the team and their "A" games today.

I'll be there...i'm leaving right now.

GoneFullHextall 05-15-2004 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flyerswin5
It was so obvious that Premeau was trying and skating as hard he can. He doesn't have the skill that some of the other veterens have on the Flyers, but was the best guy on the ice (AGAIN). This brings my question. DO the others realize that this maybe their last season in the NHL? Do they realize that they have to give their all to get the Cup and that this might be their last (or best) chance. I just didn't see the heart last game. I hope I see it today.

If everyone played as hard as Primeau did in game 3 we would not be in this position. He can be the captain of this team for as long as he wants. Flyers need this game badly. they will be with out Rags, the odds are stacked against them. The perfect time for a win.
Flyers 3 (Amonte,Gagne,Primeau)
Lightning 2 (Modin,Richards)

JOHNBOY 05-15-2004 12:23 PM

Flyers 4 (Roenick 3,Primeau)

Tampa 1 (Richards)

Must win today........

1.5 hours left!!!

:banana:

Brad* 05-15-2004 01:03 PM

This is a must win, a loss today and the series is over. No prediction from me, last time I predicted a win and look what happened.

FlyHigh 05-15-2004 01:36 PM

I am hoping that the Flyers pull a Toronto and get even nastier and better when players get injured.

fisby 05-15-2004 02:08 PM

No Seidenberg :cry:

Flyman 05-15-2004 02:21 PM

the lineup accordind to WIP :

JR - Alex - Rex
Johnny - Zeus - Tony
Gags - Preems - Branko
Brash - Sharpie - Somik

KJ - Matty
Danny - Vlad
Joni - Kappy

Flyman 05-15-2004 02:43 PM

The Bolts strike first. Fredrik Modin on the PP, assisted by Kubina and Sydor.

wtf, another penalty. 2 min for Esche, slashing. 5 on 3... :shakehead

Bloody Sabbath 05-15-2004 02:46 PM

1-1. nice shot by leclair.

JOHNBOY 05-15-2004 02:52 PM

:banana: :banana: :banana:


That is how you turn momentum around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2-1 Recchi and Leclair!!!!!

:banana:

Flyman 05-15-2004 02:54 PM

WTF!! What a come back !!! :yo:

I thought we were done when the 5-on-3 happened. But captain Preems is there!!

WOOHOO!!
GO FLYERS!!

Steve L* 05-15-2004 03:02 PM

Is Pitkanen injured or benched? He didnt play in the last 8 minutes.

Rex88 05-15-2004 03:07 PM

Storming back (no pun intended) with Prims going by three bolts. The guy is a horse. Good to see Leclair and Rex get some energy.

JOHNBOY 05-15-2004 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve L
Is Pitkanen injured or benched? He didnt play in the last 8 minutes.

He looked really nervous in the 2 or so shifts I seen him play, Hitch is probably trying to just calm him down so he isn't a liabilty.

JOHNBOY 05-15-2004 03:12 PM

PP time.

We don't score then we might as well just put 4 guys on the ice instead of having a PP, we seem to play better 4 on 4.

JOHNBOY 05-15-2004 03:32 PM

Here we go with the poor Reffing again.

:shakehead

JOHNBOY 05-15-2004 03:33 PM

GOAL!

When I think of Keith Primeau I think Conn Smythe baby!!!!!!!!!

:banana: :banana: :banana:

3-1

:bow: :bow: Keith (sh)

Flyman 05-15-2004 03:34 PM

PRIMEAU AGAIN !!!!!! SHORT HANDED !!! :banana:

And Wayne doesn't want him for Team Canada!! ah!! :lol:

Flyman 05-15-2004 03:42 PM

The commentators on WIP seem to be upset by McCreary
:banghead:


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