PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Ottawa Senators made sure the ghosts of last season's playoffs did not come back to haunt them.
The Senators jumped out to a two-goal lead seven minutes into the game and never looked back, posting a dominating 5-1 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in their 11-year history.
After squandering a three games to two lead against Toronto in last year's conference semifinals, Ottawa did not make the same mistake this time as Peter Schaefer scored 2:41 into the contest.
With the Senators shorthanded, Mike Fisher made it 2-0 at the seven-minute mark, deflating the First Union Center crowd and instilling confidence in his teammates.
"It's a great relief to win every round," Alfredsson said. "Upsets can happen, and we did a great job to win the first round and now the second round. ... We have a great thing going and we want to keep pushing. We look forward to the next round."
Patrick Lalime made 18 saves for the Senators, who will battle the New Jersey Devils for the right to play for the Stanley Cup.
"We said, 'This is our Game Seven, we're coming here and we have to win this one,'" Lalime said. "That's what we did. We came out strong, got a few goals and never looked back."
Michal Handzus scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, which went 0-for-17 on the power play in the series.
"It's frustrating," Flyers right wing Tony Amonte said. "We're kicking ourselves in the behind right now. We didn't play our game and we never got into it. ... This was the best opportunity I had to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. It's disappointing not to be able to go further."
Roman Cechmanek was 5-0 with a 0.68 goals-against average in games following a loss this postseason. But he could not recapture that magic.
Just 2:41 into the contest, Flyers defenseman Kim Johnsson coughed up the puck inside his own blue line after being badgered by Martin Havlat. Schaefer pushed it back to Havlat, who eluded Justin Williams and cut across the slot.
While falling near the left faceoff circle, Havlat fed a wide-open Schaefer, who deposited a shot from the right side into an open net as Cechmanek could not get back across the crease.
"If you get a lead on this team, it makes it tough on them," Alfredsson said. "They're one of the best teams in the league to defend a lead. We weren't able to put pressure on them early in any game, except for tonight. They looked like they didn't have the energy they needed to push through and come from behind."
"Against a team like Ottawa, you can't fall behind," Philadelphia center Jeremy Roenick said. "They get a lead and they just clamp the whole ice down. They played a perfect game defensively and we were unable to crack their defensemen."
It was the first time Ottawa scored first in the series.
With teammate Shaun Van Allen serving a hooking penalty, Fisher grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and carried down the left side. From the top of the faceoff circle, Fisher wristed a shot that sailed over Cechmanek's right shoulder and just under the crossbar for a 2-0 lead.
"(Wade) Redden made a great play to get it to (Magnus) Arvedson on the boards," Fisher said. "He chipped it past one of their 'D' and I just had the puck wide on my off-side wing and made a quick shot. I beat him over the shoulder."
"As soon as we scored a goal, it took some wind out of their sails," Smolinski said. "It looked like some of their guys had their eyes down at their feet. ... Then midway through the first period, we were able to take the fans out of the game."
Cechmanek turned aside Vaclav Varada's snap shot a minute later, drawing mock cheers from the sellout crowd.
With 1 1/2 minutes to go in the first, Havlat took a cross-ice feed from rookie defenseman Anton Volchenkov on the left side but was denied by a sliding save by Cechmanek.
The Flyers had a chance to halve the deficit on the power play midway through the second, but Lalime shut the door.
Johnsson's screen shot from the right point was stopped before Lalime thwarted two attempts from the doorstep by Keith Primeau.
Ottawa cashed in on a man advantage at 14:06 to take a three-goal lead.
Marian Hossa drove down the right side before walking in front and forcing Cechmanek to make a right pad save. But Alfredsson pounced on the rebound in the low slot and slipped it under the sprawled goaltender for his fourth playoff goal.
Showing signs of frustration, Primeau flattened Lalime behind the Ottawa net, drawing an interference penalty. The Senators did not convert on the ensuing power play but put away the game just five seconds after it expired.
On what resembled a practice passing drill, Fisher dished to former Flyer Todd White from along the left boards. While in the right circle, White completed a pass to Smolinski, who knocked it into a half-open net from the left side at 16:27.
"Anybody that understands the game of hockey that saw Game Five knew we were running out of gas," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "When they got the lead, our lack of energy started to show. People that had quickness and puck strength earlier in the playoffs had nothing tonight."
Philadelphia avoided the embarrassment of a shutout with 1:53 remaining in the period as Michal Handzus lifted a backhander over Lalime's right shoulder off a scramble in front for his second postseason goal.
The Flyers showed no urgency in the third period, managing just four shots while playing sloppy defense.
Cechmanek was no help, rushing to the blue line in an attempt to beat Havlat to a loose puck only to have the the speedy winger sidestep him and shoot into an empty net at 13:37 for a 5-1 advantage.
"Maybe a couple of the goals looked bad, but it was tough," Cechmanek said. "They have skilled forwards and have been a top team all year. ... They seemed to play better and better as the series went on."
The diehard fans who remained littered the ice with rally towels while serenading Cechmanek with derisive chants of "Roman, Roman."
"I don't know why people hate me and this team," Cechmanek said. "We played the way we knew how. We did our best, but we lost." "He did everything he could to help this team win," Roenick added. "Some of the losses in the playoffs weren't so much his fault. We allowed too many pucks to be shot at him in bad situations. Tonight, some of the shots that beat him were perfect shots. He is not to blame for why we are not playing anymore."