Flyer turns in Primeau effort

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:10 PM ET


 After telling his teammates on Saturday that they had no choice but to play with a sense of urgency in Game 5 against the Maple Leafs, Keith Primeau then went out and showed them what he meant.

 The Philadelphia Flyers captain played the game of his life.

 Primeau, who never had scored more than four goals in any NHL post-season, scored three times, set up a fourth, was a plus-4 and smashed into everything blue and white yesterday in the Flyers' 7-2 win at the Wachovia Center.

 "I had to lead," said Primeau, who may not have been as dominant in any playoff game since he ran roughshod for the Niagara Falls Thunder in the 1990 Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

 "I had to lead with emotion and energy, but other than that there was no extra pressure," he said. "We have lots of guys who are capable of leading in their own way. My job was easy."

 AVALANCHE OF HATS

 No, he just made it look that way.

 Primeau launched an avalanche of hats on to the ice when he completed his hat trick at 3:50 of the third period, but it was what he did previously that made such a difference. He ran Gary Roberts in the opening minutes, and charged toward Ed Belfour whenever the puck went near the Leafs goalkeeper.

 Primeau was supposed to cover Mats Sundin yesterday, but he performed so brilliantly, he didn't have to bother.

 Simply, Primeau set the tone, one of the integral tenets of being a captain. And in doing so, he put his team in position to take the series. The Flyers are 11-0 in best-of-seven series when they have won Game 5 after being tied 2-2.

 "I think you reach a stage in your career that you will do anything to win," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It becomes very important in your life and he is willing to do it. His whole focus is on competing on the ice."

 Primeau's show wasn't just a fun spectacle for the capacity crowd of 19,825. His teammates loved it as well.

 "He has mentally and physically gone out and done everything a captain should do," Jeremy Roenick said.

 "He really challenged us (on Saturday). I started to clap for the guy (after the hat trick). He deserved it."


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