Friday, April 23, 2004

Flames take Game 1 over Red Wings in OT

The Associated Press

DETROIT - Marcus Nilson's first career playoff goal at 2:39 of overtime lifted the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Martin Gelinas passed the puck from behind the net to Nilson, whose shot from the left circle got past Curtis Joseph's glove.

Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves to help the Flames win their fourth straight game on the road in the playoffs. Joseph made 16 saves for the Red Wings, who were 3-0 at home this postseason.

Game 2 of this matchup is Saturday in Detroit.

The only goals in regulation came in the second period. Detroit's Robert Lang scored at 6:15, and Robyn Regehr tied it at 1 with 2:03 left in the period.

Flyers 3, Leafs 1

The Philadelphia Flyers picked up where they left off last spring against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Marcus Ragnarsson scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, leading the Flyers to a victory over Toronto in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Philadelphia.

The series opener wasn't quite as physical as any of the games from last spring, but there were several hard checks and solid hits.

Tony Amonte and Simon Gagne also scored for Philadelphia, coming off four days of rest after eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils in five games. Alexander Mogilny scored for Toronto, which advanced with a victory over Ottawa in Game 7 on Tuesday night.

Robert Esche had 22 saves, outplaying Ed Belfour after proving himself against reigning Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur in the first round.

Belfour stopped 23 shots.

Both teams were without key players. Defensemen Kim Johnsson (hand) and Eric Desjardins (forearm) sat out for Philadelphia. Johnsson could return soon, while Desjardins will miss the playoffs. Leafs captain Mats Sundin (leg) missed his fourth straight game and forward Owen Nolan (knee) remained sidelined.

SENATORS: Jacques Martin was fired after coaching Ottawa for 8 1/2 seasons, making him the league's longest-serving coach. He had been given a two-year contract extension in January with a club option for a third.

Assistant coach Don Jackson and goaltending coach Phil Myre also were fired. Perry Pearn, another assistant, was not let go but general manager John Muckler said he will not be a candidate for the head coaching job.

BLUE JACKETS: League goals leader Rick Nash will not play for Canada at the world championships after having minor surgery for a severe throat infection. The 19-year-old left wing had 41 goals this season, tying Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Calgary's Jarome Iginla for most in the NHL.

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