Skip to content
Our Archives
Link copied to clipboard

Flyers - OT win a good way to kick off second half

SCOTT HARTNELL was trying to understand what Kerry Fraser was announcing on the ice but, because of the crowd noise and the shouting of his excited teammates on the bench in the Wachovia Center, he couldn't hear.

SCOTT HARTNELL was trying to understand what Kerry Fraser was announcing on the ice but, because of the crowd noise and the shouting of his excited teammates on the bench in the Wachovia Center, he couldn't hear.

Hartnell knew that the Flyers' first win in overtime since Oct. 20 was at stake. The Flyers were 1-5 in overtime games, including shootouts, and luck has not been in their favor.

Mike Richards had thrown a puck to the net as the final seconds ticked off the clock on the four-on-four overtime, and Hartnell was skating hard when he suddenly was knocked down and started sliding, feetfirst toward the goal.

The puck hit his skate and deflected into the net with 28.5 seconds left, and the horn and sirens sounded. But just as quickly, the referees skated toward the phone behind the glass at center ice to confirm what had or had not happened.

The rule is that any puck kicked into the net with a "distinct kicking motion" would not count, so the 3-2 score would either stand or a shootout likely would follow, depending on how the video replay ruling.

"I didn't know what [Fraser] was saying. No one could hear it, and then I heard the crowd started cheering and it means we won the game," Hartnell said.

"I'd say that was a distinct sliding motion. I was just going to the net, and [Richards] made a great pass, and I knew I couldn't bat it out of the air, and [Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky] knocked me, and I was falling down and it hit my skate and went into the net.

"It doesn't matter how pretty they are, just matters when you win games, and we got the two points tonight."

And that's how the Flyers started the second half of the season last night. With the 4-day All-Star break over, the Flyers faced the Los Angles Kings at home and won a seesaw game of mistakes and emotion, continuing the streak of good hockey they started in December.

With the Rangers coming into the Center tomorrow night for a divisional game, the Flyers grabbed the points and built their post-Christmas run to 12-2-1.

The Flyers got big games from Braydon Coburn, who scored the first goal and threw his considerable frame around, the power play, during which Simon Gagne tipped one in, and Martin Biron, who made some key saves. Coupled with Pittsburgh's win at New Jersey, the Flyers are first in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the Penguins, two up on the Devils.

"That was a Scotty Hartnell kind of goal," coach John Stevens said. "He finds a way to get it in the net. That was a big win for us coming out of the break. That gives as a chance to regroup [today] and prepare to come back against the Rangers."

The Kings should have been an easy opponent for the Flyers, but there are no easy games, and this was a perfect example. The Kings, in last place in the league with only 20 wins and 43 points, gave the Flyers fits through two periods.

After a standoff, scoreless first period, the Flyers got on the scoreboard in the first 57 seconds of the second period. Coburn blasted a shot from the blue line and into the net. It was his fourth goal of the season.

But the Kings' young sniper, Anze Kopitar, tied the game 53 seconds later when he roofed a puck over Biron's blocker with a wrist shot at 1:50.

The rest of the period was an exchange of hits and scrums. Even the usually unflappable Coburn got into it, grabbing Brian Willsie in the corner and pushing him to the ice for roughing Biron after the Flyers goalie made three stellar saves in a row.

The third period started with both teams clanging pucks off posts, Kopitar for Los Angeles and Richards for the Flyers.

The Flyers broke the deadlock early in the final period after they went on the power play. Kimmo Timonen faked a shot from the point and drilled the puck to Gagne, set up at the open side of the net. Gagne just redirected the puck past Jason LaBarbera to give the Flyers the 2-1 lead.

Again, it didn't last.

Visnovsky shot from the blue line and the puck was tipped past Biron in front by Matt Moulson.

The Flyers kept coming, and Scottie Upshall drew a penalty when he started to beat Jack Johnson on the rush and got roughed up on the way, putting the Flyers up a man in the final minutes.

They did nothing with the advantage, and Coburn needed to sweep-check the puck away from Moulson, who got in alone when the Flyers turned the puck over.

The missed opportunity sent the game into overtime.

The Flyers had a bunch of hot chances, including the goal that was reviewed and not called back.

And an overtime win stood for the first time in a while.

"It's very nice," Biron said, "especially the way it happened. We dominated in overtime. For us to get a goal four-on-four like that showed that we really did what we had to do and get the win.

"It's a simple play, but it's one guy driving the net and another guy getting the puck to the crease." *