Originally created 05/03/04

Flyers dominate Maple Leafs



PHILADELPHIA -- Back at home, the Philadelphia Flyers dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs and regained control of the series.

Keith Primeau had three goals and Michal Handzus scored twice, leading the Flyers to a 7-2 victory over Toronto on Sunday in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Philadelphia can eliminate the Leafs with a victory in Toronto on Tuesday night. If necessary, Game 7 would be Thursday. The home team has won each game in the series.

The victory was costly for the Flyers, who lost goaltender Robert Esche and defenseman Vladimir Malakhov to undisclosed injuries. Sean Burke replaced Esche after the first period and stopped eight of nine shots.

After being outplayed in two straight losses in Toronto, the Flyers controlled the game from the start, taking a 2-0 lead in the first six minutes and holding the Leafs without a shot until the final minute of the first period.

Mark Recchi and Branko Radivojevic also scored for the Flyers, who have never lost a best-of-seven series in which they led 2-0, going 16-0.

Leafs goalie Ed Belfour allowed six goals on 18 shots, before being replaced by Trevor Kidd less than four minutes into the second period.

Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts scored for Toronto.

Energized by a noisy sellout crowd of 19,825, the Flyers played with more intensity and determination than they showed in the two losses at the Air Canada Centre. They outshot Toronto 29-11.

Recchi picked up a loose puck after a turnover by Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe, skated in and wristed a shot past Belfour for a 1-0 lead 3:51 in.

Handzus made it 2-0 just 1:52 later with his first goal of the playoffs. Handzus took a drop pass from Simon Gagne and shot it through a screen past Belfour.

Primeau's first goal came on a short-handed breakaway with 1:06 left in the first period. Primeau beat McCabe to a loose puck, skated in on Belfour, made a nifty move to go around defenseman Brian Leetch and one-handed a shot into the net.

His second goal came on another breakaway 44 seconds into the second period. Primeau broke in with Gagne, who made a nice centering pass to set up the easy goal.

Primeau made it 7-2 early in the third period. The Flyers' captain came in with just 11 playoff goals in 119 games.

Nieuwendyk, back in the lineup after sitting out the last three games with back spasms, scored Toronto's first goal on a rebound with 35 seconds left in the first period.

The Flyers beat Belfour and the Leafs 6-1 in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series last spring. Philadelphia hadn't scored seven goals in the playoffs since a 7-3 victory over Tampa Bay on April 16, 1996.

Notes: The Flyers have scored first in nine of their 10 playoff games. ... Eagles QB Donovan McNabb attended the game, wearing a No. 5 Flyers jersey. ... Handzus had 20 goals in the regular season, but didn't score in Philadelphia's first nine playoff games. John LeClair, a former 50-goal scorer who had 23 goals in the regular season, still hasn't scored.