Monday, May 5, 2003

Flyers need Cechmanek's best vs. Ottawa

Senators, Canucks, Ducks aim to close

Enquirer news services

VOORHEES, N.J. - The Philadelphia Flyers figure Roman Cechmanek is due for another outstanding effort.

The goaltender has been unpredictable in the series against Ottawa, alternating subpar performances with shutouts. The Flyers need a strong performance from him in Game 6 tonight when they try to avoid elimination.

Cechmanek was yanked midway through the second period of a 5-2 loss Saturday after allowing four goals on just 16 shots. Both his victories in the best-of-seven series were shutouts. "If we anticipate winning, then Roman will have to be at his best," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said Sunday.

Cechmanek gave up four goals on 17 shots in the Flyers' Game 1 defeat. But he rebounded with a brilliant 33-save performance in a 2-0 road victory last week. Cechmanek gave up three goals, including one in overtime on a shot he never saw, in a loss in Game 3, then came back with 28 saves in a 1-0 victory Thursday.

"We have one chance and no more. We need to win tomorrow's game and play better than we did last night," Cechmanek said. "I never look (back). For me, the next game is important and I have to be ready."

A victory tonight would send Ottawa to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in the franchise's 11-year history. The Senators would meet the New Jersey Devils, who eliminated Tampa Bay in five games.

In the Western Conference, Vancouver leads the upstart Minnesota Wild 3-1 and could close out the series tonight.

Also, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks won seven of their first eight playoff games and had a power-play goal in their only loss.

In Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the Dallas Stars, they were 0-for-6 on the power play and suffered their biggest loss of the playoffs, 4-1.

"The power play was an issue," Ducks coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we were scary bad, and so we have to address that, for sure."

The Stars also cooled off Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who gave up three goals in two periods, then sat out the third as the Stars avoided elimination.

The Ducks still lead the series 3-2 and have two more chances to advance, starting at home tonight.

Today's Stanley Cup playoff games


• Ottawa at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.; Senators lead series 3-2

• Dallas at Anaheim, 10 p.m.; Mighty Ducks lead series 3-2

• Minn. at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.; Canucks lead series 3-1

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