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Flyers down Leafs for 2-0 lead

By Associated Press
Published April 26, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - Robert Esche stole another game for the Flyers.

Esche made 26 saves for his sixth win in seven playoff starts and Alexei Zhamnov scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third, helping Philadelphia beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Game 3 of the East semifinals series is Wednesday in Toronto. The Flyers never have lost a best-of-seven series in which they won the first two games, going 16-0.

Despite the return of captain Mats Sundin, who missed four games with a leg injury, the Leafs could not generate much offense, getting their only goal from enforcer Tie Domi. Flyers tough guy Donald Brashear also scored.

Zhamnov put the Flyers ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal with 11:35 left. His shot from the side of the net trickled between goalie Ed Belfour's legs.

Belfour, the only goalie still in the postseason who has won a Stanley Cup, stopped 22 shots.

NO OLYMPICS?: The 2006 Winter Games will be played without NHL players if the league is shut down by January because of a labor dispute. International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told his group that if the league is not playing, then its players will not be at the Turin Games.

The NHL's participation at the Olympics must be included in the next collective bargaining agreement. The deal expires Sept.15. A possible lockout could substantially curtail or cancel next season, though Bettman has said he believes a work stoppage can be avoided. If the NHL skips Turin, the Olympic tournament would resume its old ways, with European-based pros and young players from North America representing their countries.

[Last modified April 26, 2004, 01:05:23]

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