Flyers double-up on Rangers
NEW YORK (AP) - Eric Lindros is still affecting the Philadelphia Flyers' game plan, three seasons after the former captain was traded to
the New York Rangers.
This time he did it by not playing.
Lindros, sick with the flu, was sent home just before the puck dropped Thursday night. Without having to face
him, the Flyers switched their lines and beat the Rangers 4-2.
Keith Primeau was slated to centre a checking line with Sami Kapanen and Donald Brashear to face Lindros. But without Lindros to worry about, Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock was able to put Primeau with
fast skaters Kapanen and Simon Gagne.
That line clicked again with Gagne and Kapanen each scoring goals set up by Primeau, chosen for the all-star
game earlier Thursday.
``Our guys made a real smooth adjustment,'' Primeau said. ``It would've been a much different game if Eric
Primeau was a surprise all-star choice but he responded with his second multipoint game this season. That
and the Flyers' rediscovered power play led to Philadelphia's third win in four games after an 0-4-1-1 slump.
``There are some areas we still have to clean up, but it didn't hurt us tonight,'' Primeau said.
Primeau set up Kapanen's tying goal late in the first period and then assisted on Gagne's score that gave
Philadelphia a 3-2 lead. Mark Recchi and John LeClair added power-play goals for the Flyers, who entered 3-for-35 with the man-advantage in 10 games since tallying
five times on the power play Dec. 30 in St. Louis.
``The power play can be real important in this league,'' LeClair said. ``For a while there that was the root
of our success.''
That's when the Flyers had the NHL's top unit and built the league's top record.
``I think we were really just trying to get back to the basics of defence first,'' LeClair said. ``We take
care of that and the rest will take care of itself. That seems to be our winning formula.''
Anson Carter gave New York a short-lived lead in the first period, and Brian Leetch added a power-play goal to draw the Rangers even at 2-2 in the second.
It wasn't enough as the slumping Rangers fell further away from a playoff spot by dropping their third straight
and stretching their winless streak to five (0-3-2).
``We can't afford to get down on ourselves,'' said Rangers captain Mark Messier, also chosen as an all-star. ``There's no point in hanging our heads. We have a tough fight ahead of us and
we have to stand up and fight back.''
The Rangers, already missing several injured defenceman, then lost goalie Mike Dunham to a mild concussion. Dunham was run into by LeClair with 3:43 left in the second, drawing a New York power
play that Leetch took advantage of.
But just 44 seconds after Leetch tied it, Gagne cleaned up a rebound of Kapanen's shot and scored from the
slot. Dunham was unable to fight off the effects of LeClair's hit and the presence of Primeau in the crease as Gagne notched
his 10th goal.
``I think Preems got pushed on the goalie,'' Gagne said. ``I just made my move and put the puck on the net.''
The Flyers needed only 34 seconds of the third period to make it 4-2 on their first shot against backup goalie
With 57 seconds left in the second period, Martin Rucinsky was given a four-minute penalty for high-sticking Primeau. In the opening minute of the third, Kim Johnsson's shot was deflected in by LeClair.
New York took a 1-0 lead 6:34 in when Carter got a rebound in front and slid it past Robert Esche. Philadelphia got even at 17:10 when Kapanen scored.
Notes: The chants of ``Fire Sather!'' returned in the third period, directed at Glen Sather - New York's coach
and general manager. ... The Flyers acquired D Mattias Timander earlier in the day from the New York Islanders and he was in the starting lineup. ... The Rangers were again
without D Tom Poti (back spasms) who hopes to play Saturday in Ottawa. ... Dunham, who stopped 17 of 20 shots, is not expected
to travel for Saturday's game at Ottawa. ... Esche made 23 saves. ... Philadelphia C Jeremy Roenick was also chosen for the East team.