Saturday, May 15, 2004
Philly fans yelling 'Shoot!' see results
PHILADELPHIA -- John LeClair did it, so did Mattias Timander and Keith Primeau.
Firing the puck at Tampa Bay goalie Nikolai Khabibulin did wonders for the Philadelphia Flyers.
LeClair scored on a shot from the high slot, Primeau found the back of the net from high in the right circle, and Timander's drive from the blue line was tipped into the Lightning goal as the Flyers evened the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-2 victory Saturday in Game 4.
After Philadelphia lost Game 3 at home on Thursday, Primeau suggested that the raucous home crowd might have left the Flyers anxious as fans constantly called for players to let the puck fly.
The home team turned a first-period deficit into a lead when LeClair scored off a pretty setup from Primeau, and Mark Recchi got the shaft of his stick on Timander's drive 1:25 later.
There were no complaints this time from the orange-clad crowd who were thrilled to see pucks getting past Khabibulin.
Shooting high seemed to do the trick.
"When you have an opportunity like that, obviously you're going to have to go up there," Recchi said. "We were fortunate to get three by him, a deflection and obviously a couple of good shots."
Primeau didn't wait for prodding to shoot the puck, nor did he give it up to Simon Gagne when he broke up ice on a two-on-one break in the second period.
But the thought was in his mind.
"I was looking for him, he's a goal scorer," Primeau said of Gagne.
With the Flyers leading 2-1, and Tampa Bay on a power play, Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk fell at the Philadelphia blue line and smacked the puck as he went down. Primeau knocked it down to his stick with his hand and took off.
With only defenseman Dan Boyle between him and Khabibulin, the Philadelphia captain unloaded a drive that slammed into the top right corner and became the game-winner that helped the Flyers even the best-of-seven series.
"I knocked it out of the air and tried to get it settled," he said. "By the time I settled it, I was crossing the blue line and their defenseman took one step toward Gags and I had no choice but to shoot it.
"I got it on net and lucky it went in."
When his shot dented the back of the net with 8:10 left in the period, Primeau stood in place with his stick in the air as his teammates joined him.
Khabibulin has apparently been ignoring the "SHOOT!" calls in the Wachovia Center, too.
"I thought he was going to pass," Khabibulin said. "I thought he was going to fake, but he shot it and scored. It wasn't a bad shot."
Primeau did some grinding work in the first period to help get the Flyers on the board just 21 seconds after Philadelphia killed off the second part of a five-on-three disadvantage.
He worked with Sami Kapanen to get the puck in at the left point. Behind him, he heard LeClair yelling for the puck as he joined the play from the bench.
Primeau got clear in the high slot and left a pass behind that
couldn't have been placed better if set on a tee.
"He's the right guy to give it to in the slot because he's going to bury it," Primeau said.
Recchi made it 3-1 by being in the right place at the right time. Timander's drive from the center of the blue line deflected off Lightning forward Fredrik Modin and then nicked the shaft of Recchi's stick before getting past Khabibulin.