<
>

First time Philly fails to score first

4/30/2004

TORONTO (AP) -- Alexander Mogilny's goal was spectacular and his
physical play surprising.

The combination was just what the Toronto Maple Leafs needed to
beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 Wednesday night and get back into
the second-round playoff series.

Mogilny's breakaway goal sparked a three-goal second-period
spurt that helped Toronto cut the Flyers' lead to 2-1 in the
best-of-seven matchup.

Alexei Ponikarovsky, Chad Kilger and Darcy Tucker also scored
for the Leafs, but it was Mogilny who got all the credit.

"Here's a man that I've watched for a long time, and he's
capable of a lot of things," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "He
can do most things in this game and do them well, including play
physical. I have a lot of respect for him as an individual, as a
team player and as a guy that leads."

Mogilny delivered several big hits, including one on Danny Markov in the first period, that forced the Flyers defenseman to limp off the ice. Mogilny's physical play spurred a shoving match in the third period with Jeremy Roenick that led to both earning roughing penalties.

Mogilny shrugged it all off, referring to it as being "playoff
hockey."

But he did note the significance of the Leafs' victory.

"It's big," Mogilny said. "What do you think? We come home
down 2-0. We lose this game, it's pretty much over. We knew what
was at stake."

Friday's Game 4 also is in Toronto, where the Leafs have won four
straight in the playoffs.

Suddenly it's the Flyers' turn to bounce back after appearing to
lose their composure in the third period. Philadelphia was called
for three penalties in a span of 1:26, including a slashing
infraction to Marcus Ragnarsson for a two-handed chop across the
back of Mogilny's legs.

Tony Amonte scored a power-play goal for Philadelphia, which
lost for only the second time in the postseason after needing only
five games to eliminate New Jersey in the first round.

"Some of their guys that didn't show up in Philadelphia had a
bigger backbone tonight," Roenick said. "But you have to give
them a lot of credit. They were under the gun."

He said the blame for the loss rested on the Flyers.

"It was a couple questionable calls, but the referee wasn't the
reason we lost," Roenick said. "We just didn't respond to their
push. They got some big games from big players."

Philadelphia failed to score the first goal for the first time this postseason.

Mogilny opened the scoring five minutes into the second. He was
set up by Mats Sundin, who stripped Alexei Zhamnov of the puck in
the Toronto end and spun around to feed Mogilny on the fly at
center.

Racing away from Sami Kapanen, who has shifted from forward to defenseman because of the Flyers' injury woes, Mogilny went to his forehand and beat goaltender Robert Esche on the stick side.

Mogilny's goal came one game after he missed on a similar
breakaway in Toronto's 2-1 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday. The
play-making forward snapped his stick in frustration after he
missed a second scoring chance in Game 2.

All that changed Wednesday for the Maple Leafs.

Ponikarovsky scored 1:30 later by deflecting in Bryan McCabe's
pass, and Toronto went up 3-0 when Kilger redirected in a bouncing
puck from a bad angle at 15:11. It was the first playoff goal for
Ponikarovsky in 20 games.

It was an impressive offensive performance from the Maple Leafs,
who had been sputtering all postseason. Besides managing just one
goal in each of its first two games against Philadelphia, Toronto
had scored just 16 goals in nine games.

"The first goal is definitely important, but it's nice for Alex
to get a goal and play the way he did tonight," Maple Leafs
defenseman Bryan Marchment said. "He was a force out there."

Game notes
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and union head Bob Goodenow
attended the game together, a day before they are to conduct labor
talks. The negotiating session will be the first since Oct. 1. ...
Joe Nieuwendyk, leading Toronto with five playoff goals, missed his
second straight game with a back injury. RW Wade Belak made his
debut this postseason, replacing Tom Fitzgerald. ... Zhamnov had an
assist on Amonte's goal to extend his point streak to eight games
(four goals, seven assists).