Known more for knocking away shots with his head than with his pads, Cechmanek made 14 saves in the third after coming up with seven in each of the first two periods. It was the Czech’s 16th career shutout, tying him with Doug Favell for third place on Philadelphia’s all-time list.
“It is getting into a routine,” Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He needs to know coming into the rink that he is going to make four or five starts (in a row). We are going with a plan, we know what we are going to do and we are just going to plow ahead. We feel we need to get Roman ready to carry the ball.”
Goalless in six games, Chouinard tallied early in the second period before capping the scoring late in the third for his first career multi-goal effort.
“Tonight, it was two good plays by my linemates that got me the two goals,” Chouinard said. “I like it a lot here and I really want to be a part of this team really bad. It just feels good to contribute to the team.”
Rookie Radovan Somik, Mark Recchi and defenseman Kim Johnsson also scored for the Flyers, who won their fourth straight meeting with Los Angeles while scoring more than four goals for the first time since January 5 - a span of 21 games.
“For us having Somik score and having Chouinard score, plus having Recchi score from where he scored, that’s really good stuff,” Hitchcock said. “That’s the stuff that everyone feels good about. We got contributions right throughout the lineup but when you get it from third- and fourth-line people, that’s important stuff for team building.”
“We were doing two things,” Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said. “We were trying to change the way the game was going by putting a new goaltender in. Sometimes your team snaps to attention when you put a different guy in there. By the same token, it was an opportunity to give Cris a chance to play.”
Cechmanek made several tough saves in the first 40 minutes, including a skate stop on defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky early in the second, but saved his best for the final session.
With the Kings on a power play midway through the third and the talented Ziggy Palffy alone with the puck on the right side, Cechmanek slid across the crease to make a glove save on the Los Angeles winger and stop his goal-scoring streak at four games.
“He played a hell of a game,” Kings defenseman Jaroslav Modry said. “You have to give him lots of credit, he’s a big goaltender and he’s really mobile for a big guy. He’s all over the place and he is stopping the puck, so he is doing his job.”
After playing three consecutive overtime contests, the Flyers decided the outcome in this one in the first period on a strong individual effort by Somik.
Stealing the puck from Kings defenseman Jaroslav Modry at the blue line, Somik broke in alone on Storr from the left side. The Los Angeles goaltender stopped the initial shot, but Somik slipped the rebound in at 14:42 for a 1-0 Philadelphia lead.
Chouinard made it 2-0 less than three minutes into the second, getting a pass from Marty Murray on the right side of the net after defenseman Eric Desjardins’ point shot was stopped and banging it past Storr for his third tally of the season.
“I don’t want to just focus on scoring goals,” Chouinard said. “It’s important to me to really focus on doing the little things, battle for my space and really focus defensively.”
With two goals or fewer in 11 of their previous 12 games, the Flyers erupted for three in the third period to cruise to victory.
Selected in the seventh round of the 2001 draft, Huet was beaten by Recchi with a snap shot from the right circle for a power-play goal at 8:15, giving the Flyers a 3-0 cushion.
“(Desjardins) gave me a real good pass,” Recchi said. “It was a little bit of a screen from their guy. I saw that the goalie was going to go down and I just tried to get it over his shoulder. Fortunately, I found that area tonight.”
While on a power play, the Kings pulled Huet for an extra attacker to gain a 5-on-3 advantage. After they failed to convert, Johnsson fired the puck into the empty net at 16:55, and Chouinard jabbed in a loose puck with 2:22 remaining to seal the win.
“It’s a 2-0 game going into the third period. We get the next goal and we’re right back in the hockey game,” Murray said of his third-period strategy. “Then it was 3-0 and we pull our goalie. If we score there, it’s 3-1 and maybe we have a shot at it. All we are trying to do is tell our team that we are not quitting this year. We are going to stay in it and try everything we can.”
“It’s not a bad thing,” Flyers captain Keith Primeau said of Murray’s decision to pull the goalie. “They score there, it’s only 3-1 and maybe it is a different game. They’re playing desperate and they’re trying desperate measures and it didn’t work for them tonight.”
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