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April 30, 2004 - Flyers' Primeau remains optimistic

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Flyers' Primeau remains optimistic

TORONTO (CP) - Captain Keith Primeau found a silver lining to the Philadelphia Flyers' 3-1 loss Friday night to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

``I thought we were better tonight (than in Game 3),'' said Primeau. ``The series is even and now it's a best-of-three.''

Both teammate Jeremy Roenick and coach Ken Hitchcock shared Primeau's confidence.

``It's not going to be all easy, it's not going to be all clean - you have to face adversity,'' Roenick said. ``They got a couple of good opportunities they cashed in on and their goaltending was very good again.

``But we can be a heck of a lot better. There's no doubt about that.''

Philadelphia opened the scoring, which had Hitchcock feeling somewhat optimistic.

``I thought we had a great start to the game,'' he said. ``I thought we did exactly what we wanted to.

``We had a lot of good play by a lot of people today, but Toronto defended very well. They were full value for the way they defended.''

And team defence, Hitchcock said, was the key in the game.

``The difference in the hockey game was that  they were better defensively over the 60 minutes than we were,'' he said.

Toronto won both of its home games to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2, but that didn't surprise the Flyers much.

``You look at their lineup, their veteran leadership, and you know they're going to keep coming,'' said Roenick, whose Flyers ousted Toronto in the first round of last season's playoffs. ``We knew that since last year.''

Flyers right-winger Mark Recchi, who has just one goal and two points in nine games this post-season, put the onus on himself to produce more offence.

``I know I have to do a lot better job,'' Recchi said. ``We can't come into another team's building and score two goals (in Toronto's two home games).

``It's disappointing, but we still have home ice (advantage). We came (to Toronto) with the right attitude, but we didn't get the job done.''

Sundin dominated for the home side, scoring the tying and winning goals, and the Flyers couldn't deny his presence in the lineup made a difference.

``He creates so much for them, he's got great speed through the neutral zone,'' Primeau said of Sundin. ``You can't give him time and space, but that's what we did tonight.''