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NHL

Cechmanek guides Flyers

By Associated Press
Published May 2, 2003

PHILADELPHIA - Roman Cechmanek came through with another shutout in a crucial game.

Cechmanek had 28 saves and Michal Handzus scored as the Flyers evened their series at 2 with a 1-0 victory over the Senators on Thursday night.

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

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

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.

Faced with the possibility of going to Ottawa down 3-1, the Flyers didn't allow the Senators many scoring chances in Game 4. And Cechmanek made all the saves.

Often criticized for his unconventional style, Cechmanek has stopped 131 of 135 shots in the five games after a loss in 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."

He made a tumbling chest save on a shot by Magnus Arvedson that was headed toward an empty net with about 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

HURRICANES: Right wing Craig Adams signed a one-year contract extension. Terms weren't given.

[Last modified May 2, 2003, 02:31:39]


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