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Philadelphia 3, Toronto 2
Posted: Thursday April 17, 2003 04:19 AM
Philadelphia Flyers
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Toronto Maple Leafs
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TORONTO (Ticker) -- Ed Belfour deserved a better fate.

Mark Recchi's wrist shot trickled between Belfour's pads 13:54 into triple overtime on the Philadelphia Flyers' 75th shot of the night as they squared their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at two wins apiece with a 3-2 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Belfour made a team playoff-record 72 saves but was beaten on a wrist shot from just outside the right faceoff dot as Recchi scored his second goal of the game and fourth of the series, which he reduced to a best-of-three.

"He said that was enough," Flyers captain Keith Primeau said of Recchi. "He waited long enough for somebody else to score and he had to get home and be with his wife in the morning for their delivery, so he was putting an end to it."

"My wife is going to have a child in the morning," Recchi added. "Greatest thing in life, I'm looking forward to it."

Belfour's 72 saves were the second-highest total in a playoff game in the NHL's post-expansion (1968) era. But they were not enough for Toronto to protect the home-ice advantage it gained by winning the series opener.

"Eddie's a trooper," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "He's a helluva player. He put us in a position to win, and we didn't do it."

Jeremy Roenick also scored for the Flyers, who had a 75-38 advantage in shots in their longest game since a five-overtime win at Pittsburgh in Game Four of the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals.

Philadelphia lost Game Three of this series in double overtime.

"We responded great after the other night," Recchi said. "We really played a good hockey game tonight and we got two days to rest now."

The Flyers host Game Five on Saturday.

Travis Green had a shorthanded goal and Mats Sundin scored on the power play for Toronto, which managed just 10 shots in regulation.

"We weren't very good in the first and second periods. We were back on our heels," Quinn said. "We got better as the game went on, but we didn't get the result we would have loved to have had."

The Leafs were without leading scorer Alexander Mogilny, who took an inadvertent high stick to the chin in the second overtime of Game Three.

The teams played a spirited first period marked by Darcy Tucker's hit behind the net that left Roenick dazed. Roenick got even 54 seconds into the second period when he stole the puck from Belfour behind the net and whipped the puck off the goalie's skate and into the net for his second goal of the series.

But Roenick was penalized for cross-checking Tucker 90 seconds into the third period and was in the penalty box when Sundin tied it.

Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins fell over Toronto's Gary Roberts and slid into goaltender Roman Cechmanek just as Sundin put a shot from the left faceoff circle inside the far goalpost.

But that was the last mistake by a goalie for nearly three hours.

"He stayed poised in there," Roenick said of Cechmanek. "He didn't look out of position, he made some big saves when we needed it. Both goaltenders were just monsters tonight."

"We felt maybe that Eddie was unbeatable a lot of the night and we began to wonder if we were going to get one by him," Primeau said. "But Chemo would do what he had to at our end, giving us a chance."

Some 4 1/2 hours before netting the game-winner, Recchi opened the scoring. Just 76 seconds into the contest, he caught Belfour moving in the net and beat him with a shot from a tight angle on the right side.

Travis Green, who missed the first three games with cracked ribs, tied it less than three minutes later with Toronto's second shorthanded goal of the series. He got a cross-ice pass from defenseman Bryan McCabe and flicked a shot over Cechmanek's right shoulder and under the crossbar.

It came on one of only three first-period shots by the Leafs, who have been outshot in the series, 181-111.

"You seem to be more tired after a loss, but you know what, it's 2-2," Toronto left wing Tom Fitzgerald said. "We're going to go to Philly, give everything we have and try to take the lead in the series."

 


 
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