Primeau aims to be extreme

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:00 PM ET


  After having their hats handed to them in a couple of intense playoff games in Toronto, Keith Primeau and the Philadelphia Flyers have no reservations about declaring what's at hand for them this afternoon at the Wachovia Center.

 The Maple Leafs outplayed the Flyers on home ice and the black-and-orange brigade has small interest in finding out whether the Leafs can do the same in Philadelphia.

 "It's real pivotal," Primeau said of Game 5 today, of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final, tied 2-2. "It's not the end of the world, but it's close. You're strained toward the edge. That's the way we have to approach the game, with a sense of urgency and a sense of desperation.

 "The competitive level we're going to have to have is going to be extreme."

 Coach Ken Hitchcock held a closed-door meeting yesterday for close to an hour before many Flyers scattered, a few heading on to the ice in suburban New Jersey for an optional practice.

 Afterward, Hitchcock, as he has been doing for a few days now, called on his more talented players to have a greater impact on the series. No names were mentioned, but everyone from Mark Recchi to John LeClair to Vladimir Malakhov to Jeremy Roenick, take note.

 "We are not going to get away with playing 30 or 40 minutes of really good hockey,"said Hitchcock, who has been perturbed by the Flyers' turnovers that have led to Leafs goals. "We have to play 60, and I think it's a major factor. Whatever happened in the first four games almost becomes irrelevant now. It's our job to take the momentum and turn it the other way. It's a best-of-three series and we have two games at home. If we take care of business at home, we are going to win the series. But we have to play our most complete game."

 Hitchcock refused to confirm as much, but it would be a bit of a shock if he didn't have Primeau become Mats Sundin's personal shadow today. Leafs coach Pat Quinn kept Sundin away from Primeau at the Air Canada Centre as Toronto had the last line change, but that luxury falls into the hands of the Flyers today. Sundin manhandled the Flyers in Toronto, especially in Game 4 on Friday night when he had two goals. In a first-round series triumph by the Flyers against the Leafs, Primeau had Sundin on a short leash.

 Primeau, born in Toronto in November 1971, just nine months after Sundin entered the world in Bromma, Sweden, was a bit more forthcoming on his probable role today.

 "I'm going to play him physical, but I am not going to change the way I play," the Flyers captain said. "If you start chasing him, he will make you look silly.

 "Unfortunately for us, he is getting some life and some confidence on his (leg) injury. It's a great challenge, but one that I personally look forward to. That means doing a better job on him in the neutral zone."


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