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Flyers' Esche Makes Big Impact in Victory

October 20, 2002|From Associated Press

Robert Esche proved he fits in with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Starting his first game with his new team, Esche made 23 saves and had a roughing penalty, and the Flyers remained unbeaten by defeating the Washington Capitals, 3-1, Saturday at Philadelphia.

John LeClair and Simon Gagne scored 1 minute 39 seconds apart in the second period to help lift the Flyers, who are 3-0-2 under first-season Coach Ken Hitchcock. Washington had won its first three games -- its best start since opening with four victories in 1997-98.

Esche made his presence felt right away, attacking Petr Bondra early in the first period after the Capitals' forward fell into him.

Esche, who grew up a fan of former Flyer Ron Hextall, evoked images of the hot-tempered goaltender by hitting Bondra twice as he slumped to the ice and covered up.

"It was a dumb play, but sometimes it helps you a lot," Esche said. "It really got me into the game."

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Tampa Bay 3, Pittsburgh 3 -- Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis scored third-period goals to lift unbeaten Tampa Bay into a tie with the Penguins at Pittsburgh.

Johan Hedberg stopped 38 shots, including several during Tampa Bay's two-man advantage that lasted 1:40 midway through the third period.

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Detroit 5, Minnesota 3 -- Darren McCarty scored two goals at St. Paul, Minn., and the Red Wings ended the Wild's unbeaten streak at four in front of 19,344, the largest crowd to attend a hockey game in the state of Minnesota.

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Carolina 3, New Jersey 1 -- Rod Brind'Amour scored a short-handed goal less than six minutes in for the Hurricanes at Raleigh, N.C. New Jersey failed to start 4-0 for the first time since 1993-94.

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Colorado 3, San Jose 1 -- Serge Aubin scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:35 left at San Jose.

Patrick Roy made 21 saves and improved to 22-6-4 in his career against the Sharks. San Jose rookie Vesa Toskala made 36 saves.

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Columbus 4, Florida 1 -- Andrew Cassels scored and had two assists for host Columbus, which ended a three-game losing streak.

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Phoenix 3, Buffalo 2 -- Tony Amonte's first goal this season and first with Phoenix helped the Coyotes win at Buffalo, N.Y., and end a two-game losing streak.

New York Islanders 5, Atlanta 4 -- Jason Wiemer and Claude Lapointe scored third-period goals at Atlanta, and the Islanders extended their unbeaten streak to three games.

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Nashville 2, New York Rangers 2 -- Scottie Upshall scored a breakaway goal late in the second period to give the Predators a tie with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

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Toronto 2, Montreal 2 -- Tomas Kaberle scored a short-handed goal with 8:15 left in the third period to give Toronto a tie at Montreal.

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St. Louis 5, Dallas 3 -- Doug Weight scored two power-play goals in the third period to lead the Blues at St. Louis.

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Calgary 5, Chicago 2 -- Chris Drury had two goals and an assist for the Flames at Chicago.

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Boston 4, Edmonton 3 -- Ivan Huml scored the go-ahead goal and fellow rookie Tim Thomas stopped 31 shots at Edmonton, Canada.

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St. Louis defenseman and captain Chris Pronger, already out at least until January, will have a third operation on his injured left wrist Monday.

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