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Leafs unable to fly in Philly

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Captain Keith has returned. And not a moment too soon for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Keith Primeau scored twice in his first game in a week to lead the Flyers to a 4-1 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs in a hard-hitting battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Primeau missed the previous two games after aggravating a rib sprain on March 18 against Tampa Bay.

With Philadelphia trailing, 1-0, in the first period, Primeau converted on a 2-on-1 down low for his 15th goal. After passing to Ruslan Fedotenko at the right of the crease, Primeau got the return feed and banked it off a sprawled Corey Schwab to tie it.

"It was one of my best games (of the season)," Primeau said. "I felt good. I was a little tentative in the first period because of the injury. I was able to make some contact on the injured side and that gave me confidence that it was going to be OK."

Toronto had taken the lead 13 seconds earlier off a 2-on-1 of their own.

Defencemen Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle streaked down the ice with only Eric Desjardins back for the Flyers. McCabe completed a pass just out of Desjardins' reach and Kaberle beat goaltender Brian Boucher for his career-high 10th goal.

Simon Gagne netted his team-leading 32nd goal with the Flyers shorthanded early in the second period to snap the tie before Primeau scored his second of the game off a rebound of Desjardins' shot to make it 3-1.

With Desjardins serving a high-sticking penalty, Schwab corraled the puck behind his own net. He tried to bank a pass off the end boards, but Gagne stole it and stuffed the game-winner into an empty net 6:40 into the period.

"I put pressure on their goalie and I used my speed," Gagne said. "He was alone and he tried to protect the puck. I was able to use my stick and take the puck from him. And after that, it was a wide-open net."

In addition to getting a shorthanded goal, Philadelphia held the Leafs scoreless on nine power plays.

Primeau gave Philadelphia some breathing room nine minutes later, completing his first multi-goal game of the season. Desjardins fired a slap shot from the right faceoff circle that Schwab blocked, but the rebound dropped right in the crease and Primeau buried it into an open net.

Defenseman Dan McGillis added an empty-netter to complete the scoring.

"Where we were at our best was our checking," Barber said. "We didn't give them a lot of ice. We kept our composure in our end and we sorted our things a little bit better than we have in the past."

The Maple Leafs lost two players as left wing Gary Roberts suffered a chest injury in the second period and center Travis Green exited in the third after being boarded by Philadelphia defenseman Chris McAllister.

"(Roberts) has a mid-abdominal problem," Toronto Coach Pat Quinn said. "We don't know if it is muscle-related. Not a blunt kind of thing but like a twist."

Starting his 11th consecutive game, Boucher stopped 26 shots to improve to 17-13-4. Schwab made 32 saves but had a personal six-game unbeaten streak stopped (4-0-2).

"We didn't play a very good hockey game," Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. "Certainly, Philadelphia had the intensity and the will to win the hockey game more than we did. That was the difference. Schwab had a real good game, but it was Philly who deserved the game."

The Flyers improved to 30-11-6-2 against Eastern Conference opponents and took the season series from Toronto (2-1-1-0). They trail Boston by two points for the top seed in the East.

Toronto remained two points ahead of Ottawa for the fourth seed and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

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