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Warriner, Handzus power Flyers' offense to win

2/28/2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Now the Philadelphia Flyers are even scoring
on the power play.

Todd Warriner had two goals and an assist, and Michal Handzus
added a goal and three assists, leading the Flyers to a 5-2 victory
over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

The Flyers, who entered with the fifth-worst power-play unit in
the NHL, had three power-play goals for the first time this season,
and have six in the last four games after going five games without
one.

"The power play won the game for us,'' Flyers coach Ken
Hitchcock said. "We needed it. We didn't have that much energy at
the start.''

Mark Bell scored twice for Chicago, which has lost five straight
and eight of nine.

Mark Recchi and Kim Johnsson also scored for Philadelphia, which
moved within five points of first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.

The Flyers, who beat the Blackhawks 2-0 on Tuesday night, have
won three of four.

Recchi snapped a 1-1 tie with his 19th goal late in the second
period. The Flyers put constant pressure on Blackhawks goaltender
Jocelyn Thibault during a two-man advantage that lasted 1:48, but couldn't get one past him.

With 8 seconds left on the second penalty, Thibault stopped a
point-blank shot by Keith Primeau, but Primeau poked the puck out
to Recchi, who wristed it in for a 2-1 lead.

"It's been a lot better the last four games,'' Recchi said of
the team's power-play unit. "You have to give the guys up front
credit. They're getting to the puck. That's important. You have to
outwork.''

Chicago had the fifth-best penalty-killing unit in the NHL, but
allowed three power-play goals for just the third time all season.

The Flyers are 6-0-1 when scoring twice or more on the power
play.

"Five-on-five, we were real good,'' Chicago coach Brian Sutter
said. "They scored three times after we had a great chance at one
end.''

Warriner gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead in the third with his first
goal since coming to Philadelphia after a trade with Vancouver on
Feb. 5.

Bell's short-handed goal midway through the third cut it to 3-2,
but Warriner scored 27 seconds later to make it 4-2. Handzus'
power-play goal late in the third provided the final margin.

"It's nice to get on board,'' Warriner said. "It's a matter of
taking advantage of opportunities. It's a good feeling.''

Roman Cechmanek stopped 25 shots to improve to 5-1-3 in his last
nine starts. Thibault made 19 of 24 saves.

Bell gave Chicago a 1-0 lead just 2:11 into the game on his
ninth goal. He took a pass from Theo Fleury and backhanded it past
Cechmanek, who was sprawled on the ice.

It was the first goal for the Blackhawks, who were shut out in
consecutive games, since Eric Daze's second-period tally against
Phoenix on Feb. 20 -- a span of eight periods and 150 minutes.

Cechmanek, who had posted two straight shutouts, hadn't allowed
a goal in almost 132 minutes.

Johnsson one-timed a shot from the high slot past Thibault for
his seventh goal, tying it at 1 with 8:10 left in the second. It
was Johnsson's second power-play goal in two games.

"We knew what we were up against,'' Bell said. "It doesn't
matter who we're playing, we've got to get them.''

Game notes
The Flyers have lost just one of their last 11 against
Chicago (9-1-1). They are 8-1-3 in their last 12 at home against
the Blackhawks. Chicago's last win in Philly was 4-1 on Nov. 9,
1996. ... Fleury had been a healthy scratch the last two games. ...
Tyler Arnason's assist on Bell's goal gave him 31 points, most
among NHL rookies. ... The Blackhawks were 0-for-3 on the power
play. They are last in the league with 28 power-play goals. ...
Daze didn't make the trip to Philadelphia because of an infected
right ankle. ... Handzus' assist on Johnsson's goal was his 100th
in the NHL. ... Forwards Simon Gagne (groin), John LeClair
(shoulder) and Justin Williams (knee) remained sidelined for
Philadelphia.