Originally created 03/20/00

Flyers explode offensively, top Bruins

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers rediscovered their offense, matching a season high with their biggest offensive output in 31 games.

Rookie Simon Gagne's unassisted goal midway through the second period broke a tie, and John LeClair had a goal and two assists as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins 6-2 Sunday. It was the most goals scored by Philadelphia since a 6-2 win over Pittsburgh on Jan. 8.

"That was a pretty nifty goal," acting Philadelphia coach Craig Ramsay said of Gagne's third goal and fifth point within the last 24 hours. "Talk about speed, you are always challenging your forwards to use speed against the defense.

"Simon really took off after that puck. It certainly puts a lot of pressure on a team when he can generate that kind of speed."

Keith Primeau and Keith Jones added a goal and an assist each, and Daymond Langkow and Rick Tocchet also scored for Philadelphia. The Flyers had two goals within spans of 31 and 15 seconds during the second and third periods in winning for the first time in three games.

Ramsay couldn't take any credit for the second-period outburst. He didn't even go into the locker room after at the first intermission.

"I figured they have to figure some things out on their own," Ramsay said. "I thought I would leave them to their own devices and they did it. They got themselves organized."

Brandon Smith and Andre Savage scored for the Bruins, who had won three of their four previous games in a desperate attempt to sneak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Gagne, who also had two assists, broke a 2-2 tie at 10:08 of the second period. He swept the puck off the boards deep in the Philadelphia zone, outskated Boston defenders Kyle McLaren and Smith, and converted a wrist shot from the left circle.

"I just tried to use my speed," explained Gagne, who scored both goals in a 3-2 loss Saturday to the New York Rangers. "Then I just tried to shoot it at the net and the puck got in. It was a lucky goal a little bit."

LeClair and Langkow scored goals within 15 seconds early in the third period to break the game open and chase Boston goaltender John Grahame, who had won his previous two starts.

LeClair skated in from the left boards and dumped the puck off Grahame's glove into the net. It was the NHL-leading 67th power-play goal for the Flyers. Langkow then shook off Boston's Mikko Eloranta to put the puck between Grahame's pads at 1:12 of the period.

"They caught me on some bad angles with a couple of goals," said Grahame. "Philadelphia really seemed to come alive in the third period. There were a lot of bang-bang plays in front of the net and all of a sudden it's a two- or three-goal game."

Tocchet beat backup goalie Robbie Tallas with a slapshot from high in the slot with 19 seconds left in the game.

"We hung in there for a little bit and had a good flurry," said Boston coach Pat Burns. "But sooner or later the Flyers' size and skills took over."

Primeau, centering Philadelphia's top line in place of the injured Eric Lindros, put the Flyers ahead 1-0 at 2:46 of the first period. With Boston's Darren Van Impe draped all over him to the right of the crease, Primeau took a centering pass from Jones and poked the puck off Grahame's skate into the net.

Smith pulled the Bruins even with his second goal of the season at 6:48 of the first period, scoring from just outside the blue line with a slapshot that flew high to the glove side over goalie Brian Boucher, who appeared to be screened on the play.

Boston went ahead 2-1 at 8:09 of the second period, when Savage tapped in the rebound of his own shot, but Jones scored from the slot for the Flyers 1:28 later. Then, 31 seconds later, Gagne put Philadelphia ahead for good with his third goal and fifth point in his last two games.


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