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Overtime goal puts Flyers in East final

FLYERS 3, MAPLE LEAFS 2: Jeremy Roenick wins it for Philadelphia with his second goal of the game.

By Associated Press
Published May 5, 2004

TORONTO - Jeremy Roenick had his winning shot planned way before he and the Flyers were forced into overtime.

Roenick's second goal of the game, a rising drive that popped the water bottle off the top of the net 7:39 into overtime, gave the Flyers a 3-2 victory Tuesday over the Maple Leafs and sent Philadelphia into the East final.

Roenick, whose first goal was his 50th in the playoffs, capped a wild overtime period in which both teams had chances to score. Breaking up the right side on a two-on-one, Roenick lifted a 15-footer that beat Ed Belfour on the short side.

"I was sitting in the locker room after each period, and I was saying, "If I have a two-on-one, I'm shooting. I'm shooting high glove side,"' said Roenick, who has won four playoff games in overtime.

The goal came 14 seconds after Belfour foiled Mark Recchi on another two-on-one. And it came about a minute after Toronto's Darcy Tucker slammed Sami Kapanen into the boards. Play continued even though Kapanen had difficulty getting up and staggered to the Flyers bench.

Radovan Somik also scored and Robert Esche stopped 34 shots, allowing the Flyers to eliminate the Maple Leafs in six games and setting up a matchup with the Lightning.

The home team won the first five games of this series, but the Flyers broke through and snapped Toronto's five-game home win streak.

The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead but allowed Toronto to tie it in the final 11 minutes of regulation.

Mats Sundin had a goal and assist, and Karel Pilar scored for Toronto, which was eliminated by Philadelphia for the second straight year.

Esche was sharp, showing no signs of the flu that forced him to miss the final two periods of the Flyers' 7-2 victory in Game 5 on Sunday. His best saves came when he stopped Tie Domi on the doorstep with 70 seconds left in regulation.

The Leafs, who outshot Philadelphia 24-7 in the second and third periods, finally capitalized when Pilar scored on a point shot nine minutes into the third. It was Pilar's first playoff goal, coming in his first game in two years.

He was inserted into the lineup for defenseman Ken Klee, who hurt his leg Sunday.

Sundin tied it with 4:52 left in the third, converting a scramble in front. Alexander Mogilny got the play started when, from the right boards, he backhanded a shot toward the net. Esche was down to prevent a crashing Gary Roberts from stuffing the puck in, but the rebound bounced into the slot to Sundin, who snapped a shot over the goaltender's blocker.

Sundin almost scored again with a blast from the right circle 14 seconds later, but Esche got his right pad down.

The turnaround was dramatic, considering the Flyers appeared to have the game in control and the Leafs demoralized after scoring twice in the first period.

"We were a confident bunch of guys even after they tied it up," Esche said. "A lot of guys were excited to get into overtime.

"We weren't scared, we weren't nervous."

Somik opened the scoring midway through the first, converting Michal Handzus' centering pass into the slot. Roenick scored less than six minutes later, putting his own rebound through Belfour's legs.

[Last modified May 5, 2004, 01:00:41]

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