TORONTO (AP) -- The Philadelphia Flyers embarrassed the Toronto Maple Leafs
Robert Esche made 35 saves for his second shutout of the season and Michal
Handzus scored twice as the Flyers completed a home-and-home series sweep of
the Maple Leafs with a 4-0 victory Saturday night.
"Every time Toronto has a break down, we put it into the net,"
Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We have a lot of confidence playing
against Toronto right now."
The Flyers also beat Toronto 4-1 on Friday night, and have outscored the
Maple Leafs 21-3 in their last four meetings.
Todd Fedoruk and Jeremy Roenick also scored for the Flyers, who tied Toronto
for the most points in the Eastern Conference (59).
The Flyers eliminated the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs and
have won five straight regular-season games from them.
"This was a big weekend for our hockey club, especially with the way things
have gone recently," said Philadelphia captain Keith Primeau, whose team had a
six-game winless streak before playing Toronto.
The game featured several punishing hits, including one that broke the right
arm of Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins. Desjardins is expected to miss at
least six weeks after colliding with Roenick in the first period.
Roenick, who returned from a one-game NHL suspension, tried to check
Toronto's Mats Sundin along the boards, but hit Desjardins instead. Desjardins,
Philadelphia's top defenseman, went down clutching his arm before heading to
the dressing room.
"Mats got out of the way at the last second. Eric couldn't get his arm out
of the way. It got stuck in between us," Roenick said. "It's unfortunate. It
Roenick apologized to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who said earlier this
week that Roenick could been issued a three-game suspension for abuse of the
officials. Roenick threw a water bottle at referee Blaine Angus after Angus
missed a high-sticking infraction that left Roenick with a bloody mouth.
Roenick was critical of the NHL several times during the week.
"When I flapped my mouth as much as I have the last couple of days, it
takes a lot out of me physically. I said a lot of things that maybe I shouldn't
have," said Roenick, who turned 34 Thursday. "The stuff about Bettman I
probably shouldn't have brought up. I apologize for that, but when you are
under a lot of scrutiny and you get money taken away from you it's very
Roenick lost $91,463.41 for his one-game suspension.
In just over a week, the Maple Leafs have lost to the top three teams in the
East -- Ottawa, New Jersey, Philadelphia -- by a combined score of 16-2.
Toronto's Ed Belfour, pulled in the first period Friday after allowing three
goals on 12 shots, allowed four on 24 Saturday.
"Eddie didn't have his best two games," Roenick said.
The Maple Leafs' defense let Belfour down.
Defenseman Bryan Marchment allowed Fedoruk to skate from behind the net and
put the puck between Belfour's legs at 9:22 of the first.
Bryan McCabe turned the puck over beside the net before Handzus made it 2-0
nine minutes into the second.
"We made errors in our end that you can't do against the top teams,"
captain Mats Sundin said. "We have to have a better effort against the top
Marcus Ragnarsson's shot from the point on the power play deflected off the
boards to Roenick, who put the puck off Belfour's skate at 12:41 of the second.
Handzus made it 4-0 on the power play just over two minutes later.
The Maple Leafs have lost four of five.