Flyers find way to beat Sabres


The Philadelphia Flyers needed a spark after two playoff losses to the Buffalo Sabres. They got it, just not from the guy they expected. Keith Primeau, Philadelphia’s leading goal-scorer in the regular season, returned from a late-season knee injury, but it was defenseman Andy Delmore who broke a third-period tie as the Flyers beat the Sabres 3-2 Monday night. Delmore was a healthy scratch in the first two games of the first-round Eastern Conference series, but he kept the Flyers from falling into a 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven-series by scoring with 804 left. New Jersey, which leads 2-0, is at Carolina, and Dallas, ahead 2-1, is at Edmonton. Detroit plays at Los Angeles on Wednesday, looking to take a 3-1 advantage. Delmore, a defenseman, is not unfamiliar to saving the Flyers in the playoffs. Last year, he scored in overtime in Game 3 of a series at Pittsburgh that also brought them within 2-1 after Philadelphia dropped two straight at home. He followed that up with three goals in Game 5 as the Flyers went on to eliminate the Penguins in six. “Call it lucky, call it what you want you want,” said Barber, who replaced Chris McAllister with Delmore. “Having Delly in rewarded our team with a win. He came up with obviously a big goal for us.” Primeau, who missed eight games since being hurt at Ottawa on March 26, was expected to sit out the entire first round. Philadelphia’s precarious position hurried his return. The Flyers can tie the series Tuesday night before it returns to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Thursday. “As important as this game was for us, it’s nullified if we don’t come ready to compete (Tuesday),” Primeau said.”I expected to be bumped early, bumped often. … The one good thing for me, the more times I got hit, the more my confidence grew.” The big center, who had a team-high 34 goals along with 39 assists in the regular season, earned an assist on Simon Gagne’s goal that brought the Flyers into a 2-2 tie at 1103 of the second. Chris Gratton gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 303 in. Kent Manderville got Philadelphia even 207 into the second before Steve Heinze put Buffalo back on top just 105 later. Roman Cechmanek stopped 26 shots to record his first playoff victory. Maple Leafs 3, Senators 2, OT Cory Cross scored 206 into overtime for Toronto. The Maple Leafs can eliminate Ottawa with another home win Wednesday night. Down 2-0 in the game and without a goal in the series, the Senators scored twice in the final 3:09 to force overtime. The Senators had not scored on Curtis Joseph in more than 223 minutes of playoff action, dating to last year’s playoffs, when Marian Hossa spoiled Joseph’s third straight shutout with 3:09 left in regulation. Daniel Alfredsson tied it with 35.6 seconds left. Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov scored power-play goals for the Maple Leafs, and Joseph made 26 saves. Penguins 3, Capitals 0 Kevin Stevens scored his second key goal of a low-scoring series as Pittsburgh won at Washington. The Penguins have allowed only two goals in three games. Alexei Kovalev and Jan Hrdina also scored in a 209 span of the third period, but it was two players rescued off hockey’s scrap heap — Stevens and rookie goalie Johan Hedberg — who were the stars. Hedberg, playing in only his 12th NHL game, made 25 saves in the first two periods and 34 overall in his first career shutout. Blues 6, Sharks 3 Dallas Drake scored twice, and Scott Young had three assists as St. Louis beat San Jose. Pierre Turgeon had a power-play goal and two assists for the Blues, who rebounded from being shut out in Game 2. Scott Mellanby, Jochen Hecht and Cory Stillman also scored as St. Louis torched rookie goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who shut out the Blues two days earlier. Scott Thornton got his second goal for the Sharks, Vincent Damphousse added a short-handed goal, and Tony Granato also scored for San Jose. Avalanche 4, Canucks 3, OT Peter Forsberg scored 200 into overtime to give Colorado a victory at Vancouver. Joe Sakic, Chris Drury and Adam Foote also scored for the Avalanche, and Milan Hejduk added a pair of assists as Colorado once again found a way to win a close game. Trent Klatt, Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks, playing their first playoff game in Vancouver since April 27, 1996. Vancouver led 1-0 for the third straight game.