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
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 center 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
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 was there.''
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
``I think we were really just trying to get back to the basics of defense
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 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
``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 defensemen, 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 Jussi Markkanen.
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.