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SPORTS WEEKEND | PHILADELPHIA 4, NEW JERSEY 2

Flyers Ignore Jinx to Win

May 19, 2000|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With rookie goaltender Brian Boucher playing like Dominik Hasek, the Philadelphia Flyers didn't need to worry about either the New Jersey Devils' recent dominance or the so-called Meadowlands jinx.

Boucher made 27 saves, Keith Primeau set up two goals and Rick Tocchet got his third in two games as the Flyers beat the Devils, 4-2, Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Mark Recchi, Keith Jones and Simon Gagne also scored as the Flyers won their second consecutive game in the best-of-seven series.

"We know it's 2-1, and I hate to say it, but big deal," Tocchet said. "It's a good win but we have to stay on an even keel."

However, the Flyers have some concerns about John LeClair, who was cut in the face by goaltender Martin Brodeur's stick in the third period and needed 36 stitches on the right side of his nose and three around his eyelid. LeClair plans to play in Game 4 Saturday.

What made this win so important for the Flyers was that it came in New Jersey's backyard, a place that had been a graveyard for them. Philadelphia had a 4-22-2 record in the Continental Airlines Arena over the last five years and was 0-7-1 in its last eight games there.

"More than anything we just felt we had to show people that we could play in this building," Primeau said.

"I just sensed that our guys the last couple of days were focused for the challenge and we came up with a huge effort."'

The jinx never bothered the Flyers in this game because they never trailed.

The Devils might have had the advantage in shots, 29-21, and chances, but the only ones that found the net were Claude Lemieux and Scott Niedermayer, with the last one coming with 4:01 to play to make the score 3-2.

Gagne ended the suspense, beating Brodeur with a backhander with 1:49 to go.

*

Around the League

Tom Hicks, majority owner of the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers, was taken to a Santa Fe, N.M., hospital Thursday after complaining of breathing problems and dizziness. Hicks was reported in good condition at St. Vincent's Hospital. . . . Glen Sather, the Edmonton Oilers' general manager, told the Edmonton Sun that the Phoenix Coyotes have requested permission to speak to him about joining their organization. "I told them to phone our governor, Jim Hole," Sather said. "He told them to talk to our new chairman, Cal Nichols." Nichols confirmed that a request was made by an NHL team, but had not decided if they will grant permission to talk to Sather. . . . Colorado defenseman Adam Foote said that his vision "is absolute normal" after being hit by the errant stick of Dallas forward Jere Lehtinen less than three minutes into Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Monday. Despite the positive prognosis, Foote will sit out Game 3 against the Stars on tonight and does not know when he will be cleared to return to the ice. . . . Results of tests on former Montreal Canadien great Maurice "Rocket" Richard for a suspected recurrence of abdominal cancer are expected next week. . . . Kings' forward Scott Barney underwent back surgery Thursday and is expected to make a full recovery. He did not play this last season because of the injury.

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