Cechmanek, Flyers Blank Sabres

Flyers goalie Roman Cechmanek (32) makes a stop on Sabres' Doug Gilmour (93). AP

There's no doubt how the Philadelphia Flyers feel about first-year goalie Roman Cechmanek.

"I've said a number of times that he's a world-class goalie," said Mark Recchi after Cechmanek recorded his eighth shutout, tying Buffalo's Dominik Hasek for the NHL lead, as the Flyers beat the Sabres and Hasek 2-0 Thursday night.

"He's been our wall, and it's huge for us," Recchi said. "Right from Day 1 of training camp he's looked that good and he's proving to everybody what type of goalie he is."

Philadelphia increased its Atlantic Division lead to three points over New Jersey.

Keith Primeau and Eric Desjardins scored second-period goals, and Recchi and Daymond Langkow added two assists each for the Flyers.

Cechmanek, who entered with a league-leading 2.02 goals- against-average, stopped 26 shots as the Flyers cooled off the Sabres. Buffalo had won two straight and six of seven.

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  • Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff has seen enough of Cechmanek.

    "That is one guy who seems to have our number," he said. "After they scored their first goal, we had some great opportunities but he made a couple of big saves which allowed them to win the hockey game."

    It was the third time this season that Cechmanek got the best of Hasek - whom he backed up on the gold medal-winning Czech National team in the 1998 Olympics. Cechmanek shut out the Sabres for his first NHL victory on Nov.4, and won again at Buffalo on Nov. 22.

    Desjardins said. "Back in the Czech Republic he is going to be the man this summer."

    Cechmanek, who already has recorded more shutouts than any "first year" Philadelphia goaltender, is within four of the team season record of 12 accomplished twice by Bernie Parent during the Flyers' Stanley Cup championship seasons of 1974 and 1975.

    Hasek played brilliantly in a losing cause, making a number of acrobatic stops among his 29 saves. He had won his last four road starts and had allowed only five goals in that span.

    Buffalo's best scoring opportunities came late in the first period when Flyers defenseman Chris Therien slapped away a breakaway attempt by Vladimir Tsyplakov, and midway through the second when Erik Rasmussen hit the crossbar. Cechmanek also denied Curtis Brown from in close with 2:47 left.

    Primeau scored his team-leading 28th goal after taking a pass from behind the net from Daymond Langkow at 3:58 of the second period.

    Desjardins made it 2-0 about 10 minutes later when his shot hit the skate of Buffalo defenseman Alexei Zhitnik and dribbled between Hasek's pads.

    "I don't think we played our best in the first two periods tonight," Buffalo defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We can't expect to come out and play one good period and expect to win too many hockey games."

    Notes

  • D Mark Howe, who played for Philadelphia from 1982 to 1992, was elected to the Flyers Hall of Fame.
  • The Flyers have an eight-game home unbeaten streak (5-0-3) against the Sabres. Buffalo hasn't win in Philadelphia since 1997.
  • Miroslav Satan, who leads the Sabres with 52 points, had his six game scoring string snapped. He had 11 points during that streak.
  • Buffalo, which leads the NHL in penalty killing, has killed off 36 of 37 attempts in the last 11 road games. The Sabres stopped three Philadelphia power plays.
  • Cechmanek has started 11 straight games, and 23 of 25.


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