PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Keith Primeau saved the Philadelphia Flyers' season.
Simon Gagne gave them at least one more game.
Gagne scored his second goal with 1:42 left in overtime, leading the
Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of
the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night.
Game 7 is Saturday night in Tampa. The winner will play the Calgary Flames
in the Stanley Cup finals, beginning Tuesday.
``I need everybody around me to help. I got that tonight,'' said Primeau,
who scored twice, including the tying goal with 1:49 left in regulation.
The Flyers are seeking their eighth trip to the Cup finals, and first since
getting swept by Detroit in 1997. The Lightning, in the playoffs for just the
third time in the franchise's 12 seasons, have never reached the Cup finals.
After Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin made several outstanding saves
in the extra period, the Primeau-Gagne-Jeremy Roenick line struck again in
their first game together.
Primeau took a shot that hit Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina and went to
Roenick, whose shot bounced to Gagne at the other side of the net. Gagne
snapped a shot that hit Khabibulin and squeaked in.
``The puck went right to my stick and I shot it as hard as I could,'' Gagne
said. ``I was excited when I saw that line on the board this morning.''
Sami Kapanen also had a goal for Philadelphia, which won its second overtime
game of the playoffs.
Ruslan Fedotenko and Vincent Lecavalier each scored twice for the Lightning.
``If we win Game 7, this game has no bearing,'' Lightning center Tim Taylor
said. ``We can't get on the plane and mope around.''
Fedotenko's first goal against his former teammates tied it at 3 in the
second period. He scored on a power play from almost the same spot on a
near-identical pass from Dave Andreychuk to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead with
2:27 left in the second.
But Tampa Bay seemed content to sit on the lead in the third period, and
Primeau finally made them pay for it. From the left side of the net, Primeau
kicked the puck through Khabibulin's pads, came around the other side and
jammed it in to send the game to overtime.
``The whole line was unbelievable,'' Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said of
Primeau's line. ``Keith led the charge, but he had a right wing and a left wing
that were right there with him.''
Primeau, the Flyers' captain, has been dominant in the postseason, scoring
nine goals in 16 games after getting nine goals in 110 playoff games coming
into the year.
Now, the injury-depleted Flyers, playing without defensemen Eric Desjardins
and Marcus Ragnarsson and forward Radovan Somik, are one victory away from
playing for the Cup.
``This team has a special quality. It won't quit,'' Hitchcock said.
A raucous, orange-clad crowd went silent when Lecavalier scored a breakaway
goal to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead just 88 seconds into the game.
But a pretty, backhanded goal by Gagne off a kick-pass from Primeau tied it
at 1. Primeau then gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead with a one-timer off a perfect
pass from Vladimir Malakhov.
Lecavalier's second goal tied it at 2 just 45 seconds into the second
period. His slap shot sailed past Flyers defenseman Mattias Timander and just
under Robert Esche's glove.
``It's disappointing, especially when you are that close,'' Lecavalier said.
``Maybe we should have pushed a little more in the third period.''
Kapanen, back at left wing after injuries forced him to play defense most of
the series, gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead, scoring on a slap shot from a side
Less than three minutes later, Fedotenko tied it at 3 with a slap shot from
the slot. He had one goal, which came with the Flyers, in 22 playoff games,
before scoring eight this postseason.