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NHL: Flyers, Lightening Take 2-0 Series Leads - 2004-04-26


In the National Hockey League playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers have taken a two-games-to-none lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that usually indicates the Flyers will win the best-of-seven series.

Philadelphia beat the Maple Leafs, 2-1, Sunday, with much of the credit going to their 26-year-old goalie, Robert Esche, who had several outstandings stops among his 26 saves. Alexei Zhamnov scored the winning goal midway through the third period.

The Maple Leafs got off more shots than Philadelphia, but their only goal came from enforcer Tie Domi. Their veteran netkeeper, Ed Belfour, had 22 saves.

Sunday's game in Philadelphia was the 17th time the Flyers have taken a 2-0 lead in a seven-game NHL playoff. Every time before, they have gone on to win the series.

The Flyers and the Leafs head to Canada for Game Three of their series on Wednesday.

In Florida, the Tampa Bay Lightning also took a 2-0 advantage in their second-round playoff series, beating the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1.

Tampa Bay goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 26 shots and Vincent Lecavalier scored two goals for the second straight game. The victory also was the Lightning's fifth straight win in the post-season.

The Canadiens are hoping they can repeat their performance in the first round of the playoffs. They lost the first two games but came back to put down the Boston Bruins in a deciding seventh game.

Game Three between the Lightning and the Canadiens is in Montreal Tuesday.

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