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game recap

Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Philadelphia Flyers 3 FINAL

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Philadelphia Flyers 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Philadelphia Flyers 3

VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) _ Keith Primeau used to be a top scorer. He's become an even better leader.

Primeau's outstanding performance in the playoffs has the Philadelphia Flyers halfway to the Stanley Cup finals. But the Tampa Bay Lightning are standing in the way, holding home-ice advantage.

With the Eastern Conference finals tied at two games apiece, both teams took off Sunday, choosing to rest as the series shifts to Tampa for Game 5 Tuesday night.

Primeau and the rest of the Flyers regained momentum with a 3-2 victory Saturday that left the Lightning wondering how they can stop Philadelphia's captain.

``He has had a very good series,'' Lightning coach John Tortorella said of Primeau in a conference call. ``We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Our mind-set is we have to worry about our hockey club. Do we have to make small adjustments? Sure, but our main focus is on our team.''

Primeau scored one short-handed goal and set up another score Saturday, giving him seven goals and four assists in 15 playoff games. He's been a dominant force on defense, setting the tone for the Flyers with his physical play.

It's been quite a turnaround for a player who hadn't lived up to his potential since coming to Philadelphia in January 2000. Once considered an offensive threat, Primeau hasn't reached 20 goals in his last three seasons after scoring a career-high 34 in 2000-01.

Instead, Primeau has become one of the NHL's best two-way forwards and team leaders. Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock compared Primeau's leadership skills to those of Steve Yzerman, Derian Hatcher, Mark Messier and Mike Modano.

After the Flyers lost two straight to Toronto to even their second-round series at two games each, Primeau challenged his teammates in a meeting before Game 5, then scored three goals to lead Philadelphia to a 7-2 victory.

``He has been a force throughout the postseason and there have been a couple games where he has taken it to the next level,'' teammate Sami Kapanen said. ``I can't say enough about him.''

Primeau fell out of favor with the tough Flyers fans after he helped get coach Bill Barber _ a Hall of Fame player for Philadelphia in the 1970s _ fired in 2002. But he has regained their hearts with his tenacious, gritty play.

``You find out with the Flyer fans that if you play with a lot of courage and you play hard, they forgive a lot of things about people,'' Hitchcock said. ``Keith knew that, and he went out and did it.''

The Lightning not only have to find a way to contain Primeau, but they have to avoid breakdowns like the one late in the first period of Game 4 when the Flyers scored two goals in less than 1{ minutes.

``We have to stay composed for 20 minutes and we didn't,'' Lightning defenseman Darryl Sydor said.

Tampa Bay had seven power plays, scoring on two of them. But the Lightning also allowed Primeau's short-handed goal. Hitchcock wants his team to be more disciplined to avoid so many penalties.

``When you're playing a team like Tampa, any time you can keep those guys playing five-on-five hockey, that gives you a fighting chance,'' Hitchcock said.

The Flyers got good news when they learned forward Jeremy Roenick and defenseman Joni Pitkanen are expected to play in Game 5. Both left Saturday's game with ``upper-body'' injuries. If Pitkanen doesn't play, Dennis Seidenberg of the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms will take his place.

scoring summary
1st Period
12:43
TBL
PPG - Freddy Modin (6) ASST: Pavel Kubina (3), Darryl Sydor (5)
1 - 0 TBL
16:55
PHI
John Leclair (2) ASST: Keith Primeau (4), Sami Kapanen (7)
1 - 1 Tie
18:20
PHI
Mark Recchi (4) ASST: Mattias Timander (3), Alexei Zhamnov (9)
2 - 1 PHI
2nd Period
11:50
PHI
SHG - Keith Primeau (7) ASST: NONE
3 - 1 PHI
3rd Period
19:27
TBL
PPG - Vincent Lecavalier (7) ASST: Dan Boyle (5)
3 - 2 PHI
penalty summary
1st Period
06:28
TBL
Cory Sarich  Tripping against  Alexei Zhamnov
12:00
PHI
Simon Gagne  Hi-sticking against  Cory Sarich
12:00
PHI
Simon Gagne  Hi-sticking against  Cory Sarich
14:34
PHI
Robert Esche  Slashing against  Dave Andreychuk
2nd Period
00:24
TBL
Cory Stillman  Hi-sticking against  Mark Recchi
11:17
PHI
Vladimir Malakhov  Cross checking against  Freddy Modin
16:50
PHI
Jeremy Roenick  Holding against  Cory Stillman
3rd Period
04:30
PHI
Donald Brashear  Interference against  Pavel Kubina
08:35
PHI
Simon Gagne  Hi-sticking against  Martin St. Louis
08:35
TBL
Martin St. Louis  Hi-sticking against  Simon Gagne
10:11
TBL
Dan Boyle  Hooking - Obstruction against  Mark Recchi
11:32
TBL
Pavel Kubina  Tripping against  Tony Amonte
18:37
PHI
Danny Markov  Elbowing against  Martin St. Louis
goalie stats
Nikolai Khabibulin
Nikolai Khabibulin
SA: 26TOI: 59:10
Saves: 23EV: 18 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .885SH: 0 - 1
Robert Esche
SA: 30TOI: 59:56
Saves: 28EV: 21 - 21
PIM: 2PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .933SH: 0 - 0
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