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A good, then bad, night for Flyers' Asham

MAINLY, ARRON ASHAM could do no wrong. Right place, right time all night, it seemed. And then . . . well, wrong place, wrong time.

MAINLY, ARRON ASHAM could do no wrong. Right place, right time all night, it seemed.

And then . . . well, wrong place, wrong time.

Asham took the penalty that led to the goal that iced the Bruins' 4-1 win, called for tripping early in the third period after he lost a race to the puck in the Bruins' end. It looked and sounded worse than it was, but it happened, only the second penalty of the game by a disciplined Flyers club.

Upon that penalty, Asham dwelled.

"I shouldn't have even had my stick there. It was an accident," he said. "I thought I could beat him out. It was bad timing on my part. It was a bad penalty. It cost us the game."

He felt bad.

But Asham, a third-line right wing with 10 goals in 72 games during the regular season, might have been the feel-good story of the night. His goal was precisely what the Flyers needed - a boost from a rank-and-file skater as they try to survive the absence of injured gunners Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne.

Early in the game, Asham found himself on the right wing, unchecked, as Claude Giroux streaked down the ice, the pair broken out, two-on-one. Giroux flipped him a pass and Asham roofed it, backhanded, over Tuukka Rask for a 1-0 Flyers lead 2 minutes, 32 seconds into the game – their first, and only, lead of the series.

"It seems like he always gets me the puck," said Asham, who has two playoff goals. "It was, basically, get it on net and see what happens. It was a nice pass. I kind of waited the goalie out a bit, and snuck it in there."

In the second period, Asham found himself sapped, spent, his hand raised, asking off the ice as play shifted from the Bruins' end to the Flyers'. He could not leave just yet . . . and, hustling back across the ice, he drew a penalty on Steve Begin at 6:16 of the period.

Afterward, Asham couldn't even recall that heroic series of events . . . perhaps in light of what happened later.

Finally, fatally, 50 seconds into the third, Asham found himself racing Matt Hunwick down the ice, chasing a puck. Hunwick's skates seemed to slide from under him and he hit the boards, hard. Asham dropped his own stick, helpless as the whistle blew. It looked bad, but, really, it wasn't the malicious sort of trip that was called.

But it was a trip, and it was called.

Asham watched from the penalty box as the Bruins scored their decisive, third goal in the win, which gave them a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Asham was grim. He was disappointed.

He was resolute, and he was proud of what he and his line of contributors had done. They produced 13 of the Flyers' 35 shots after managing 15 in the first two games combined.

"Without Carts and Gags, we've got to step it up. Chip in. [His line] could have scored three or four goals," Asham said. "It could have been easily 4-1, us."

It wasn't, and time is running short.

"We can't pout now," he said. "We've got to play for our lives."

They have to play as he played last night. *