Thursday, May 20, 2004

Flyers send series to Seventh Game

These Flyers aren’t dead yet! Simon Gagne gave his team mates a reason to be thinking about hockey for at least two more days, as his overtime goal at 18:18 sent the Flyers off to Tampa for a seventh and deciding game on Saturday. Gagne’s goal put the Flyers on the positive end of a 5-4 victory and sets the scene for Saturday’s showdown.

Keith Primeau continued his leadership role as he scored with less than two minutes to go in the third period to send the two teams on to Overtime, indicating that the Flyers won’t go easily. It was two goals for Primeau and two goals for Gagne, with Sami Kapanen rounding out the Flyer scoring on Thursday.

Tampa Bay countered with two goals each from Vincent Lecavalier and Ruslan Fedetenko. Lecavalier did his best to take the noisy Flyer crowd out of the game scoring early in the first period with only 1:28 gone, after that the Lightning were hard pressed to find Robert Esche in the first managing only five more shots on net in the first. Coach John Tortella must have read the riot act in between periods as the Bolts came crashing out of the gate in the second to dominate play; managing thirteen shots the Bolts more than doubled their chances in the second, taking advantage of the increased offence to take the lead into the third 4-3. They then basically sat on their lead for the remainder of the third, playing a conservative defensive shell with only 5 shots on net in the third. Keith Primeau benefited eventually from all that play in the Tampa end with his tying goal late in the third.

Nickolai Khabibulan did his best to hold the Bolts in the game but the Flyers doubled the Lightning in the shots in OT at 10-5, shot number ten the lucky one from Gagne that secured the win and sent the two teams off to a game 7.

The Calgary Flames can sit back on the weekend, rest up, head for the BBQ and watch some hockey on Saturday as the Bolts and Flyers take it to the one game winner takes all thrill called game 7. Already the Bolts are trying to put their best face forward on a game seven date with the Flyers; centre Tim Taylor advised his team that “if we win game 7, this game has no bearing.” “We can’t get on the plane and mope around."

Wise words from Taylor who is trying to keep his team mates focused on the job at hand. With less than 48 hours between games, there’s not much time to rehash what may have been, better to just get to the job at hand and win it in seven. If they don’t want the championship the Flyers would be more than happy to take it from them, no questions asked.

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