Lalime, Senators post historic shutout over Flyers

NHL: Ottawa Senators 3, Philadelphia Flyers 0 -- P. Lalime, 28 saves

The Ottawa Senators have knocked the fight out of the Philadelphia Flyers and are poised to knock them out of the playoffs.

Senators goaltender Patrick Lalime sparkled yet again, making 28 saves for his third 3-0 shutout win over the Flyers in Game 4 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final before a capacity crowd of 18,500 at the Corel Centre on Wednesday.

In doing so, he matched a postseason record for consecutive shutouts shared by Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons (1926), John Ross Roach of the New York Rangers (1929) and Frank McCool of the Toronto Maple Leafs (1945), and equalled by Brent Johnson of the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

"I'd like to thank my teammates," said Lalime, who entered the series sporting an 0-5 record in the playoffs.

"You can't do it yourself, it's a team effort. The important thing is the win."

Lalime has turned aside 110 of 111 shots in the best-of-seven series, which Ottawa now leads 3-1.

Roman Cechmanek, his Flyers counterpart, gave up all three goals on 19 shots before Brian Boucher replaced him to begin the third.

"I have confidence in everyone in front of me," Lalime said. "They're clearing rebounds and doing everything we need to win.

"It's fun out there. We've got three in the bank, now we've just got to get the fourth."

Wade Redden, Sami Salo and Marian Hossa scored for the Senators, who can snap a string of three first-round exits in a row by eliminating the Flyers in Game 5 at First Union Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET, CBC).

Should Ottawa prevail, it would mark its first playoff series win since a shocking opening-round ouster of the top-ranked New Jersey Devils in 1998.

"They are running out of time and have to play desperate," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We just have to play our game."

Philadelphia was a popular pre-season pick to reach the Stanley Cup Final, but now faces the real possibility of back-to-back first-round series losses after succumbing to the Buffalo Sabres in six games last season.

"We'll have to address a few things when we get home," Flyers head coach Bill Barber said. "We'll focus on trying to win a hockey game and make it a series again.

"As a group, we have to find a way to get out of the little funk we're in."

"They better prepare for all out war if they want to win," added Jeremy Roenick, who led all Flyers with five shots and four penalties -- two for charging and two roughing.

"They'll have to give 100 per cent and take a beating to do it."

The Flyers may sound defiant, but they are disappointed and deflated, if not already defeated.

They have just one goal in the series, Ruslan Fedotenko's winner in Game 1, and have failed to score on the Senators through 12 regulation periods.

For the record, Chris Therien counted Philadelphia's last regulation goal -- 310 minutes and 43 seconds ago -- in Game 5 of its 2001 conference quarter-final against the Sabres.

"I don't have any answers," Flyers captain Keith Primeau said. "If I had answers, we wouldn't be in the predicament we're in.

"We better find answers pretty soon though."

That Philadelphia found itself minus Mark Recchi for Game 4 only added to the misery.

Recchi sat out with concussion-like symptoms, the result of a check by hulking Zdeno Chara in Game 3.

Pavel Brendl replaced him and had one splendid scoring chance midway through the second, only to be denied point-blank by Lalime.

Adam Oates wound up robbed by a sliding Redden on the rebound.

Oates has been virtually invisible with just one assist in the series, while fellow Flyers stars Simon Gagne, John LeClair, Primeau, Recchi and Roenick remain pointless.

Alfredsson, the finest forward in the series so far, threaded a pass through the skates of two Flyers to Redden, who whacked it by Cechmanek to open the scoring with 20 seconds left in the first period.

"He was prepared to shoot until I yelled then he slid me a great pass and the net just seemed to open up for me," Redden said.

Added Alfredsson: "They put a lot of pressure on us in the first. We were a little hesitant.

"The goal at the end of the period was big for us and it helped us pick it up in the second."

"You give up a goal in the last 20 seconds, that's hard to swallow," Roenick said. "You've got to keep fighting.

"I'm a fighter, I don't quit."

Ottawa went ahead 2-0 as Shawn McEachern fed a pinching Salo, who fooled Cechmanek with a backhand deke at 6:06 of the second.

Precisely 2:02 later, MacEachern slid a cross-ice pass to a trailing Hossa, who one-timed it over Cechmanek's right shoulder for his second goal of the series and a commanding 3-0 lead.

Lalime shouldered the load from there, stoning Fedotenko in the slot before smothering the rebound early in the third.

Not even a 1:17 two-man advantage was enough for the Flyers to pierce his armour.

"It's all teamwork," Lalime said.

"That was huge," Alfredsson added. "The penalty killing has done an unbelievable job for us through the whole series."

Lalime later preserved the historic shutout with two spectacular saves with 2:48 remaining.

First, he kicked out a slap shot from Justin Williams then, diving backwards, stuck out his stick to stop Primeau on the rebound.

It was the save of the game, and the series.