Sunday, April 18, 2004

Philadelphia wins 3-1, ousts defending champ New Jersey


NHL playoffs

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - Danny Markov scored with 5:23 left, and the Philadelphia Flyers eliminated the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils with a 3-1 victory in Game 5 Saturday.

Alexei Zhamnov also scored for Philadelphia, which advances to the second round for the second straight year. Sami Kapanen added an empty-net goal. Scott Niedermayer scored the only goal for New Jersey, which won three championships the previous nine years.

Robert Esche, starting his first playoff series, had 31 saves in another solid effort, outplaying Martin Brodeur - who stopped 37 shots. Esche allowed nine goals in the series on 155 shots. "It was exciting," Esche said. "I could feel the ice shake. I didn't think the crowd could get that loud. I didn't think anything could get that loud."

New Jersey had beaten the Flyers in the conference finals in 1995 and in 2000 when the Devils rallied from a 3-1 series deficit.

Canucks 5, Flames 4, 3OT

CALGARY, Alberta - Vancouver's Brendan Morrison scored 2:28 into the third overtime to force a seventh game.

Calgary overcame a 4-0 deficit to force overtime, with Chris Clark tying it with 7:04 left in regulation.

But Morrison sent the series back to Vancouver for Game 7 on Monday night, beating goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to end the longest game of the season and the longest in Vancouver history.

Geoff Sanderson, Jarkko Ruutu, Daniel Sedin and Brad May also scored for the Canucks. Martin Gelinas, Ville Nieminen and Oleg Saprykin added goals for the Flames.

Canadiens 5, Bruins 2

MONTREAL - Darren Langdon scored for the first time in over two years and Saku Koivu netted the go-ahead goal in the second period. That tied the first-round playoff series 3-3, forcing a deciding Game 7 Monday night in Boston. Jose Theodore made 22 saves and Yanic Perreault, Alex Kovalev, and Jan Bulis also scored for Montreal, which won its second in a row after falling behind 3-1 in the series. The Habs have never won a seven-game series in which they trailed 3-1.

Red Wings 2, Predators 0

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ray Whitney and Steve Yzerman scored 30 seconds apart, and Detroit won its playoff series against Nashville with a Game 6 win.

Robert Lang had two assists, and Curtis Joseph stopped 15 shots to earn his 16th career postseason shutout and first with Detroit. "Whenever you have an opportunity to close an opponent out, you want to come out and make a statement early," Detroit's Kris Draper said. "We were able to do that."

The Wings improved to 8-0 in potential clinching games, dating to the 1998 Stanley Cup finals. They finished off the Western Conference first-round series in style by leading for 115:15 of the final 120 minutes to end Nashville's first foray into the playoffs. Avalanche 5, Stars 1

DENVER - Peter Forsberg had a goal and two assists, and David Aebischer stopped 21 shots to help Colorado beat Dallas and close out the first-round series in five games.

Colorado had lost five straight potential clinching games, including three consecutive in a first-round loss to Minnesota last year.

BLUES' DANTON CASE: A day after St. Louis forward Mike Danton was charged in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme, his teammates were still having trouble fathoming the news.

"It's beyond shock," forward Doug Weight said Saturday as players cleaned out their lockers. "I don't know what to say."

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Illinois, Danton, 23, and Katie Wolfmeyer, 19, tried to hire someone to kill an acquaintance of the player. Danton was arrested at the airport in San Jose, Calif., after the Blues were knocked out of the playoffs by a loss to San Jose on Thursday.




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