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Philadelphia 2, Ottawa 0

April 28, 2003 at 12:55 AM   |   Comments

OTTAWA, April 27 (UPI) -- Roman Cechmanek stopped 33 shots for his second career playoff shutout and the Philadelphia Flyers got goals from Simon Gagne and Mark Recchi Sunday night in a 2-0 blanking of the Ottawa Senators that squared their Eastern Conference semifinal series at one win apiece.

Cechmanek made eight saves in the first and third periods and 17 in the second for his first shutout since the opener of last year's conference quarterfinals against Ottawa. The Senators bounced back from that loss and recorded three straight shutouts before eliminating Philadelphia in five games.

After surrendering four goals and failing to protect a 2-0 lead in Game 1 on Friday, Cechmanek had all the answers in this one. He helped the Flyers kill all six power plays and take home-ice advantage from top-seeded Ottawa. Game 3 will be in Philadelphia Tuesday night.

"His first game in the series wasn't great and he came back with a good effort this time," Recchi said. "We have all the confidence in the world in him. We knew he was going to play a good game tonight. Everybody talks about his size, but he finds a way to stop the puck and that's all that really matters to us."

"Yeah, maybe I had a little too much emotion last game and I know that's not right," Cechmanek said. "I have to play the same as the regular season and try the same things."

Gagne scored the only goal Cechmanek needed 6:57 into the first period. From behind the net, he skated unchecked into the right faceoff circle, turned and wristed a shot past goaltender Patrick Lalime's stick side and inside the far goalpost.

"I had a lot of time, I looked up to try to find someone in front and a player joined the rush on (Keith) Primeau to the net," Gagne said. "I came out and had a lot of space. It turned out I was one on one with (Lalime) and I beat him on the blocker side."

"The player had the puck behind the net and I just turned around for a second, looking for a guy in front of the net," Senators defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "As soon as I took a look, he went around the net and scored."

It was Gagne's fourth goal of this year's playoffs but first in seven postseason games against the Senators.

Cechmanek protected the lead until the third period, when Recchi doubled it with 6:58 remaining.

John LeClair avoided a hit from defenseman Wade Redden along the left boards, got to the bottom of the left circle and passed across the slot. Recchi had trouble controlling the puck, which enabled him to move in on Lalime before putting a wrister under the goalie.

"I was actually looking for Michal (Handzus) because he would've had a tap-in, but I saw Patrick was down and out," Recchi said. "I was fortunate to have the wide-open net and I was able to get it behind him. It was really two on none, so Patrick couldn't do much, and I stayed patient."

It was Recchi's seventh playoff goal, moving him into a tie with New Jersey's Jamie Langenbrunner for the league lead.

But the difference was Cechmanek, who recorded Philadelphia's first road playoff shutout since Brian Boucher blanked Buffalo in Game Three of the 2000 conference quarterfinals.

"I think he wanted to show everybody the first game was not his kind of game," Flyers defenseman Eric Weinrich said. "There were a lot of unfortunate goals in that game, but tonight he showed how great a goalie he really is."

Ottawa was on a power play with 4 1/2 minutes to go to in the first period when Cechmanek made a point-blank stop on Marian Hossa. Early in the second, Martin Havlat beat two Philadelphia defenders to a puck behind the net and set up Vaclav Varada, who was stopped by Cechmanek.

Three minutes later, Cechmanek made a blocker stop on Chara's point shot and denied Mike Fisher and Bryan Smolinski on rebounds.

With 7:44 to go in the second, defenseman Chris Phillips tried a wraparound at the right goalpost, but Cechmanek pinned the puck along the goal line.

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