Flyers, Hurricanes pull even in their first-round playoff series

Saturday, April 29, 2006

PHILADELPHIA -- R.J. Umberger scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, helping the Philadelphia Flyers even their first-round playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres with a 5-4 victory on Friday night.

Peter Forsberg had two goals and a sensational assist, and Petr Nedved and Eric Desjardins also scored for the Flyers, who won their second straight game after a humiliating six-goal loss Monday.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Buffalo. The Sabres won both games at home, including an 8-2 victory in Game 2 after a double-overtime win in the opener.

Daniel Briere scored twice and Thomas Vanek and Mike Grier had goals for the Sabres.

Robert Esche made 26 saves, including several during odd-man rushes for Buffalo.

Umberger was knocked woozy by Brian Campbell's heavy check in Game 1 and missed the next game. But the rookie made the difference with his first playoff goal.

Hurricanes 3, Canadiens 2

MONTREAL -- Rod Brind'Amour scored 5:54 into the third period to give Carolina a victory in Game 4 that tied the Eastern Conference playoff series with Montreal.

The second-seeded Hurricanes, who won despite blowing an early lead, dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series at home but swept two straight in Montreal. Game 5 will be Sunday night at Carolina.

Justin Williams -- whose unpenalized high-stick in Game 3 forced Canadiens captain Saku Koivu to be hospitalized with an eye injury -- had a goal and assist for Carolina in the first period. Carolina scored twice within 1:11 midway through the penalty-free period to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

Cam Ward made 23 saves in his second straight start for the Hurricanes after replacing Martin Gerber.

Montreal rookie Alexander Perezhogin and defenseman Sheldon Souray had the Canadiens goals.

Aaron Ward also scored for the Hurricanes.

Stars 4, Avalanche 1

DENVER -- Desperation served the Stars well.

Dallas avoided an early elimination from the NHL playoffs with an impressive 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night behind Niklas Hagman's first two goals of the postseason.

Colorado's quest for a stunning 4-0 sweep of the second-seeded Stars hit a stumbling block in the second period when Dallas goaltender Marty Turco made a risky move that fired up the Stars, who outshot the Avalanche 19-6.

Two of those shots found the net.

Hagman's breakaway goal off Sergei Zubov's pass broke a 1-1 tie less than 4 minutes into the period, and Bill Guerin's wraparound goal between goaltender Jose Theodore's skates came at 18:41 and took the air out of the Avs.

In between, Turco, who won for just the second time in nine playoff games against the Avalanche, came out of the net to play the puck, colliding with Colorado forward Alex Tanguay just above the right circle. In the ensuing scramble, Dallas defenseman Willie Mitchell slid over to deflect Ian Laperriere's shot near the net.

The Stars outshot the Avs 39-23.

The best-of-seven Western Conference series will return to Dallas for Game 5 on Sunday night.

-- The Associated Press

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