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Esche, Flyers get over hump against Devils

By Associated Press
Published March 14, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - Robert Esche has given Philadelphia more than steady goaltending. He has the Flyers believing they can beat New Jersey.

Esche had 37 saves and Marcus Ragnarsson got the go-ahead goal 23 seconds into the third period Saturday to lead Philadelphia to a 2-1 win over the Devils.

"I think we are over whatever the problem was against this team," Esche said.

The Flyers beat the Devils for the second time in five days and lead New Jersey by eight points in the Atlantic Division.

Philadelphia might also have gotten over its mental hump against New Jersey. After starting the season series with two losses and a tie, the Flyers finished with three consecutive wins.

"I don't think we believed we could beat them," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "There was a feeling something bad was going to happen every game. We don't feel like that (now)."

RED WINGS 3, STARS 0: Manny Legace has been a dependable backup goalie for Detroit. This season, he's proving to be a lot more.

Legace stopped 31 shots for host Detroit in his second shutout of the season.

Legace entered the season as Detroit's No. 3 option but injuries to Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph meant an expanded role for Legace, who is 8-1-1 in his past 10 decisions.

SHARKS 3, KINGS 1: Evgeni Nabokov had 25 saves in relief of the injured Vesa Toskala for host San Jose. Nabokov started the second period after Toskala left with a lower body injury. Also, San Jose recalled defenseman Jason Marshall from AHL Cleveland.

BRUINS 3, SABRES 2 (OT): Mike Knuble scored the winner with 3.9 seconds left in overtime, converting a defensive stop by Dan McGillis and a feed from Michael Nylander for host Boston.

PANTHERS 3, RANGERS 2 (OT): Olli Jokinen scored in overtime for the second straight game for host Florida. He got the winner 2:54 into the extra period two days after scoring in regulation and again in the extra session at Montreal.

THRASHERS 5, CAPITALS 2: Shawn McEachern snapped a third-period tie and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored his 20th goal as host Atlanta scored three in the final 6:08. The Thrashers tied a franchise record with 15 home wins.

CANADIENS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 3: Michael Ryder scored late in the second to tie it at 3 and Yanic Perreault scored the winner midway through the third for host Montreal.

FLAMES 4, PREDATORS 4: Jarome Iginla scored 31 seconds into the third to cap a comeback from a 3-1 deficit for visiting Calgary.

BLUES 5, BLUE JACKETS 3: Brian Savage, Keith Tkachuk and Mike Sillinger scored in the third to rally host St. Louis, which fell behind after scoring the first two goals.

BERTUZZI INCIDENT: Colorado's Steve Moore is still in a Vancouver hospital after a blindside hit by Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi broke his neck last week. Moore is expected to recover and should return to Denver this weekend, but his injury has been hard for the team to shake.

"We revealed our character this week," Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said. "It was a tough week and we had to stick together. We weren't playing so well before that, and when you're not playing well you seem all alone as it is."

Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the season, including the playoffs.

Meanwhile, several hundred Canucks fans held a rally in support of Bertuzzi.

"All these people out here just want him to know that we still love him," said Susan Hickey, who held up a banner that read: "In Todd We Trust."

[Last modified March 14, 2004, 01:05:29]

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