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Flyers break jinx at Jersey

Philadelphia enters with a 4-22-2 record there in the past five years but ends an eight-game winless streak.

With rookie goaltender Brian Boucher playing like Dominik Hasek, the Flyers didn't need to worry about either the Devils' recent dominance or the so-called Meadowlands jinx.

Boucher made 27 saves, Keith Primeau set up two goals and Rick Tocchet got his third in two games as the Flyers beat the Devils 4-2 Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final.

Mark Recchi, Keith Jones and Simon Gagne also scored as the Flyers won their second straight game in the best-of-seven series after all but being written off after losing the opener in Philadelphia.

"We have enough veterans to knock each other down," Tocchet said. "We know it's 2-1, and I hate to say it, but big deal. It's a good win but we have to stay on an even keel."

The loss squarely puts the pressure on the Devils for the first time in the playoffs heading into Game 4 on Saturday night.

The Flyers also have some concerns about John LeClair, who was cut in the face by goaltender Martin Brodeur's stick in the third period and needed 36 stitches on the right side of his nose and three around his eyelid.

LeClair plans to play Saturday.

"It's a desperate hockey game, no doubt about it," Devils center Jason Arnott said. "It's a do-or-die game. We have to go into it thinking we have to win the game."

What made this win so important for the Flyers was it was in New Jersey's back yard, a place that had been a graveyard for them. Philadelphia had a 4-22-2 record in the Continental Airlines Arena over the past five years and was 0-7-1 in its past eight games there.

"More than anything we just felt we had to show people that we could play in this building," Primeau said. "I just sensed that our guys the last couple of days were focused for the challenge and we came up with a huge effort.'

The jinx never bothered the Flyers in this game because they never trailed.

The Devils had the advantage in shots, 29-21, and chances, but the only players who found the net were Claude Lemieux and Scott Niedermayer, the last one coming with 4:01 to play to make it 3-2.

Gagne ended the suspense beating Brodeur with a backhander with 1:49 to go.

With the Flyers on a power play early in the second period, Patrik Elias, who led the Devils with 35 goals, got a short-handed breakaway. He skated across the front of the net, got Boucher out of position and shot a forehand along the ice.

However, the goaltender rolled on his back and threw out his glove hand to stop the shot.

Flyers center Daymond Langkow missed the game because of a concussion. Langkow was hurt in a collision with Scott Stevens on Tuesday.

Devils center John Madden also missed the game. He hurt his right knee late Tuesday in a collision with Primeau. He'll be out 2-3 weeks.

BLACKHAWKS: Alpo Suhonen, a native of Finland, will be named coach next week, becoming the league's first European-born coach, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Suhonen is a Maple Leafs assistant. The Tribune reported both organizations had agreed to terms.

KINGS: Forward Scott Barney had back surgery. Barney, 21, expected to make a full recovery, did not play this past season because of a disc injury.

OILERS: The board owning the team has denied access to teams pursuing general manager Glen Sather. Sather said the Coyotes had requested permission to speak to him about joining their organization.

The team will request an investigation by commissioner Gary Bettman regarding possible tampering by the Coyotes and Rangers.

STARS: Tom Hicks, majority owner of the Stars and Texas Rangers, was hospitalized after complaining of breathing problems and dizziness. Hicks was reported in good condition at St. Vincent's Hospital in Santa Fe, N.M. Doctors said his vital signs were normal.

ROCKET AWAITS TEST RESULTS: Results of tests on former Canadiens great Maurice "Rocket" Richard for a suspected recurrence of abdominal cancer are expected next week, his agent said.

Agent Jean Roy said Richard, 78, may be released from Hotel Dieu hospital today.