2003 NHL Playoffs 2003 NHL Playoffs

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Toronto 4, Philadelphia 3
Posted: Tuesday April 15, 2003 01:04 AM
Philadelphia Flyers
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Toronto Maple Leafs
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- With their leading scorer knocked out of the game, the Toronto Maple Leafs needed someone to step up. Defenseman Tomas Kaberle decided it would be him.

Kaberle scored his second goal of the game 7:20 into double overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers and a two games to one lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Just 4 1/2 minutes into the second overtime, Philadelphia's Jeremy Roenick fell backwards during an offsides call at the Toronto blue line. On his way down, his stick came up and caught Alexander Mogilny under the chin, leaving the Maple Leafs right wing lying flat on the ice.

"I was skating backwards and his foot came by and clipped the back of my feet," Roenick explained. "I went sprawling backwards. Totally, totally innocent play. When you get your feet taken out backwards, everything goes up and I happened to clip him. It was a very unfortunate situation, for sure."

After being attended to, Mogilny - who earlier scored his fifth goal of the series - was noticeably woozy as he was helped to the locker room.

Mogilny received stitches in and around his mouth but was walking under his own power after the game.

"I can justify that it's never fun to get a stick around your mouth," said linemate Mats Sundin, who took a puck to the face on April 3 and suffered extensive damage to his lip, teeth and gums. "It's better to hurt your leg or something. It's kind of where you live, so to say. You eat and everything there. I'm sure it's sore. Hopefully, it will be all right."

Less than three minutes later, Sundin carried down the left side and around the Flyers net before backhanding the puck into the crease. After it deflected in front of Roman Cechmanek's stick, Kaberle lifted the puck over the prone goaltender for the game-winner.

"Mats had the puck and went deep around the net and put it out front," Kaberle said. "One of their guys was changing, so I took a chance and was able to get a rebound. It feels great, but it doesn't matter who scored the goal."

"That's a play where you try to come around the net and put something in front," Sundin added. "Tomas, I think, has seen me go out and gun around the net like that but not for a few years."

Toronto coach Pat Quinn wishes it would happen more often.

"He drove outside and it looked like he couldn't be stopped," Quinn said. "It was very impressive and I'm glad he got rewarded. Of course, you don't know what's going to happen when you throw it out front, but we were fortunate that it went in."

Sundin's decision to remove the protective shield on his helmet between overtime periods may have given him an extra edge.

"It's more a mental thing," he said. "You start to wonder sometimes, just seeing the puck, it's better seeing without it. I think it was at the point in the game where you're just trying to lose extra weight."

The Flyers grabbed a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the game on goals by defensemen Eric Weinrich and Eric Desjardins. But Robert Reichel and Kaberle erased the deficit before Mogilny gave Toronto a 3-2 advantage with four minutes left in the second period.

Mark Recchi drew Philadelphia even three minutes into the third, but Ed Belfour stopped 15 shots in the overtimes to keep the Maple Leafs in the game.

"We came out really strong and found a way to come back in the third period," Desjardins said. "I thought we played a pretty good game in overtime. It could have gone either way."

"That was a helluva hockey game," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock added. "This was two teams with everything on the line. They were hitting us and we were knocking them. It was two desperate hockey clubs not giving an inch."

Game Four is Wednesday in Toronto.

With a league-leading 55 points on the road during the regular season, the Flyers stormed out of the gates at the Air Canada Centre.

With a penalty about to be called on Toronto, Weinrich took a pass from Tony Amonte in the high slot and skated in alone before putting a shot between Belfour's body and right arm at 4:02 to give Philadelphia the lead.

A healthy scratch in Game One, Justin Williams drove down the left side and backhanded a shot that Belfour stopped. After knocking over the goalie, Williams regained control and went around the net before dishing to Desjardins low in the right faceoff circle.

The former Flyers captain fired a shot that glanced off Gary Roberts' skate and sneaked between Belfour's pads at 8:02 for his second playoff goal.

Just 37 seconds later, the Maple Leafs halved the deficit.

Goalless in his previous 26 postseason games, Robert Reichel gathered the rebound of defenseman Bryan McCabe's point shot and slipped it under Cechmanek's right pad while alone in front to make it 2-1.

With Philadelphia's Sami Kapanen serving a tripping penalty, Reichel made a cross-slot pass to Kaberle in the left circle, where the defenseman fired it into an open net 2:18 into the second to even it at 2-2.

Thanks to Darcy Tucker, who returned to the lineup after missing Game Two with a knee injury, the Maple Leafs capitalized on an out-of-position Flyers' defense to take the lead.

While tied up with Claude Lapointe, Tucker barreled into defenseman Chris Therien, leaving the right side open. From the corner, Mogilny walked to the faceoff circle and perfectly placed a shot over Cechmanek's left shoulder and off the goalpost for his eighth tally in 10 career games against the Czech goalie.

"Our game is playing proper defensively," Recchi said. "In the second, we really got away from it. It hurt us. They deserved the win tonight."

Cechmanek kept it a one-goal deficit with 2:40 left in the second, lifting his right pad while laying on the ice to deny Sundin. Less than 30 seconds later, he stopped Tom Fitzgerald's point-blank chance while having Owen Nolan's first shot of the series hit his mask with 20 seconds left.

"The second period was probably our worst of the series," Weinrich said. "They took it to us in the second. ... When you don't play a whole game, guys like Mogilny or Sundin are going to hurt you. We didn't play a complete game."

Former Leafs defenseman Dmitry Yushkevich unleashed a shot from right point that hit a pileup in front. The puck went to the right circle, where Recchi gathered it and put it past Belfour at 2:59 of the third to knot the contest at 3-3.

Simon Gagne had a golden opportunity on a Flyers' power play with 3:15 left but could not control the puck while alone at the right side of the net.

Just 30 seconds into the first overtime, Roberts was denied from the doorstep by Cechmanek. But Belfour matched his counterpart midway through the session by stopping Roenick's wrist shot from the slot.

Philadelphia defenseman Kim Johnsson nearly ended the game with 5:46 left, but his shot from the slot bounced off the left post.

"It can be your best friend, and it was there," Belfour said.

"He made some big stops and we got a big break on that one in overtime," Quinn added.