Recchi, Flyers foil Leafs in triple OT

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (3OT) -- M. Recchi @ 13:54

Toronto and Philadelphia took longer to decide Game 4 than Shayne Corson took to resign.

Mark Recchi scored 13:54 into the third overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers foiled the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2 before a deflated crowd of 19,574 at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

It was the second-longest in Flyers history and third-longest for the Maple Leafs.

"We were just trying to get the puck to the net," Recchi said. "Fortunately, it went in and we are going to run with it and head home."

"In the third overtime, I thought our players could sniff something," Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock noted. "The guys were standing on the bench every time we got a rush going.

"It felt like we were getting our 11th wind or something."

Recchi's decisive goal came on a low wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that squirted between the pads of Ed Belfour and dribbled across the goal line.

"Recchi scores from there all the time," Hitchcock enthused. "He's made a living scoring from there."

It was Recchi's second goal of the game and evened the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series at 2-2.

"I've got to get home," he explained. "My wife's going to have a child.

"It's the greatest thing in life. I'm looking forward to it."

"This was a must win for us,'' Flyers captain Keith Primeau figured. "We're even instead of going home down 3-1."

Game 5 goes Saturday afternoon at the First Union Center (3 p.m. ET, CBC).

"Hopefully, we can build on this momentum and go home and take care of home-ice advantage," Recchi said.

"Now we've got a best-of-three," Hitchcock added. "We've got what everybody thought we'd get -- a classic series."

Jeremy Roenick had the other goal for the fourth-ranked Flyers.

"That was two hockey games," he laughed. "Eddie was awesome.

"Eddie gave that team a chance to win the hockey game. They almost did, but we were very fortunate."

Joe Sacco did not dress for Philadelphia after suffering a head injury early in Game 3.

"We really played well," Hitchcock said. "We didn't have a weak player.

"We've really thrown a lot of passion into this series. We're throwing everything we have into it."

"We dominated pretty much that whole hockey game," Roenick claimed. "We didn't think about losing, just about who was going to score."

Belfour was absolutely brilliant in defeat with 72 saves, a franchise record in the playoffs.

"Eddie Belfour battled tremendously hard," Recchi said. "He was great tonight."

"Eddie's a trooper," Leafs general manager and head coach Pat Quinn added. "He put us in a position to win.

"But we didn't do it."

Travis Green and Mats Sundin tallied in a losing cause for the fifth-seeded Maple Leafs, who were outshot in every period: 19-3 in the first; 14-3 in the second; 12-4 in the third; 15-12 in the fourth; 14-9 in the fifth; 9-7 in the sixth and a whopping 75-38 overall.

"The shots seem to be an incredible number," Quinn said.

"We played so hard that we forced them to spend time where they didn't want to -- in their own end," Hitchcock added.

Power plays contributed to those lopsided totals, though, as Leafs penalty killers were called up on to kill eight power plays in regulation, including a 4:00 advantage in the third period.

The Flyers went 0-8 with the man advantage; the Leafs were 1-for-4.

"There's lots to be proud of," Quinn maintained. "They battled hard.

"I know they'll rally and come back. Both teams were mentally tired and we made the error you hope you don't make."

Toronto was minus top sniper Alexander Mogilny, held back by team doctors for precautionary reasons.

Mogilny suffered concussion-like symptoms in a collision with Roenick early in the second overtime of Monday's 4-3 Leafs victory.

When the two locked legs cruising through the neutral zone, Roenick stumbled backwards and clipped Mogilny in the face with his stick.

"When you get your feet taken out backwards, everything goes up and I happened to clip him," Roenick remarked at the time.

"It was a very unfortunate situation, for sure."

Mogilny scored five of Toronto's 10 goals in the first three games.

Phil Housley was a healthy scratch after skating just one shift on Monday.

Nik Antropov (foot) and Doug Gilmour (knee) are both injured.

Philadelphia capitalized quickly when Darcy Tucker was penalized for a late charge on Roenick in the opening minute.

"It definitely dazed me," Roenick revealed. "It was one of the biggest hits I've taken this year."

On the ensuing power play, Recchi surprised Belfour with a wrist shot from an awkward angle for his team-high third goal of the series and 1-0 lead only 1:16 into the game.

Toronto's penalty woes persisted as Mikael Renberg was whistled for slashing 56 seconds later.

But Green lifted Bryan McCabe's splendid centring pass under the crossbar for his first, shorthanded, at 4:06.

"This stings," said Green, who missed the first three games with sore ribs.

"It should. When you lose in triple overtime, you're not going to just forget about it."

Roenick took advantage of a roaming Belfour for his second only 54 seconds into the second.

Roenick stripped Belfour of the puck behind the net and banked a sharp-angled shot off his right skate as he scrambled back.

But with Roenick serving a cross-checking minor, Sundin found the far top corner with a rising snap shot to tie it 2-2 at 1:51 of the third.

"We weren't very good in the first and second periods," Quinn observed. "We were back on our heels."

The Flyers threatened first in overtime as Jonas Hoglund coughed up the puck to Michal Handzus in the slot.

But Belfour barely got a pad on Handzus' backhander and the puck dribbled by the right goal post.

At the other end, Cechmanek slid across to stop Sundin, who split the defence with eight minutes left.

Tucker had a glorious opportunity in the opening minute of the fifth, but Cechmanek kicked out his shot from the slot.

Tucker was denied a second time when Cechmanek swatted his one-timer midway through the period.

Belfour later reached behind him to sweep a deflected puck out of danger before stumping Justin Williams twice on a partial breakaway.

Cechmanek responded in kind with a right-skate save on Robert Reichel.

Belfour foiled a 2-on-1 break in the final minute, blocking John LeClair's initial shot and snaring the rebound out of mid-air laying on his back.

Belfour made the save of the sixth period, too, snaring Primeau's low slap shot minutes before Recchi's winner.

"We began to wonder if we'd get another one by Belfour," Primeau said.

"It could have gone either way," Hoglund contended.

"We got better as the game went on," Quinn concluded. "But we didn't get the result we would have loved to have had.

"We knew this series was going to be long and hard and tough. We've got to find a way to win a couple more."

Of note, the Leafs refused to discuss Corson's so-called resignation, preferring to focus on game matters.

Corson left the team after being scratched Monday in favour of an extra defenceman (Housley).