LOS ANGELES (AP)—Roman Cechmanek got his first shutout for the Los Angeles Kings against the team that traded him away. It became more special to him since Philadelphia Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke was there to see it.
Clark watched helplessly as Cechmanek stopped 22 shots and thwarted five power plays to beat Philadelphia 4-0 Tuesday night.
“I was so excited about this game,” Cechmanek said. “I know them and they know me, so I think tonight was an advantage for me. I wanted to show them that I’m good. I was focused all 60 minutes.”
The shutout was the 21st for Cechmanek, who was swapped for a second-round pick in next year’s draft following another subpar performance in the playoffs. He is 3-2 in five starts with the Kings and has allowed 12 goals.
“They made a heck of a deal. They got a top goalie for very little,” Clarke said. “But from our standpoint, we didn’t want to bring Roman back and get stuck in a situation where we couldn’t move him because it’s really hard to move a goalie.
“I like Roman and I hope it works out,” Clarke added. “I read what he said in the paper—that he seems to like it better here because he’s more anonymous and he feels there’s less pressure. You’re not going to be anonymous if you play hockey in Philadelphia—especially if you’re a goaltender, and especially if the playoffs don’t go real good for you.”
Cechmanek, an All-Star two seasons ago, was 33-15-10 in 58 games last season for the Flyers. But he allowed nine goals on 46 shots in the final two games of Philadelphia’s second-round series against Ottawa. That performance and others in past postseasons led to the trade.
“Roman took a lot of heat, there’s no question about that,” Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick said. “It would have been hard for him to come back to Philly and feel comfortable.”
Cechmanek entered this season with a career goals-against average of 1.96, the lowest since 1943-44 among goaltenders with at least 150 regular-season games.
“The year before last, Roman wanted out of Philly because of the pressure of playing there and he was unfairly, in my opinion, being blamed for some of the stuff that went on. But he also—unfairly—blamed his teammates,” Clarke said.
“We got through that and then he had another good year last year. Then the playoffs started, and for whatever reason, we ended up in the same mess we did two years ago. So we just felt that for the good of the team—and also the good of Roman—that we should probably trade him and get another guy in there.”
Martin Strbak scored his first two NHL goals, helping hand Jeff Hackett his first loss with the Flyers. Jaroslav Modry and Alexander Frolov also scored for the Kings, who lost their previous four meetings Philadelphia. Ziggy Palffy and Joe Corvo each had two assists, but Cechmanek stole the show.
Cechmanek had a couple of close calls in the first period. Eric Desjardins beat him with a slap shot less than five minutes in, but the puck hit the right post. Then, Sami Kapanen was set up in front of the net by Roenick’s pass, but his shot was right into Cechmanek’s chest.
Strbak, a ninth-round draft pick playing in his third NHL game, made two trips to the penalty box in the first period before giving Los Angeles the lead at 5:24 of the second. His one-timer from just inside the blue line deflected off a diving Keith Primeau and past Hackett.
Modry, criticized by coach Andy Murray on Monday for not being physical enough, made it 2-0 on a power play at 18:14 of the second. He got the puck from Lubomir Visnovsky outside the left circle, moved in and beat Hackett over the right shoulder with a slap slot from a sharp angle.
Strbak scored his second goal with 15:45 to play, as his long wrist shot deflected off the stick of Kapanen and past defensemen Chris Therien as he tried to knock it down in front.
The Kings, who failed to record a shot in the third period of their 4-3 loss to Boston on Saturday, held Philadelphia to two shots in the second period—both in the final 41 seconds.
John LeClair (broken foot) is still sore and won’t be back in the lineup until next weekend at the earliest. … Philadelphia LW Simon Gagne sat out with a bruised right shoulder. He was injured in Saturday’s win at Phoenix,when Shane Doan checked him into the boards from behind.