Flyers scrap for overtime win

Associated Press
Published January 31, 2006

NEW YORK - The Peter Forsberg-less Flyers were searching for a goal from anyone in any way.

Then, it happened. A puck deflected off the stick of an opponent and found its way into the Rangers net, starting a riveting comeback that turned a surefire loss into Philadelphia's 3-2 overtime victory Monday night.

"I think the luck was on our side," said Flyers forward Petr Nedved, who assisted on Joni Pitkanen's second goal of the game at 1:28 of overtime. "That's the way it is sometimes if you work hard for 60 minutes and overtime."

Philadelphia tied it on goals by Pitkanen and Mike Richards in the final 9:42 of regulation. In overtime Pitkanen, a defenseman playing for just the third time in 27 games because of an abdominal injury, struck again. He skated into the left circle and ripped a shot over Henrik Lundqvist's glove to snap Philadelphia's two-game losing streak.

"It's always good when you get those goals from guys like that, so we'll take those two points and get out of here," said Nedved, a former Ranger.

Forsberg is out with a groin injury, and Philadelphia's lead in the Atlantic Division, once nine points, was down to three coming in.

"Guys going out all the time, we needed to suck it up," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said.

New York was staked to a 2-0 lead by Jaromir Jagr and Martin Rucinsky, and Lundqvist looked up to the task to make it stand.

"It was a tough loss. We had the lead, but things like this happen every once in a while," said Lundqvist, who had 37 saves. "Of course I'm very disappointed."

Pitkanen got things started for Philadelphia when he fired a shot off the outstretched skate of New York forward Steve Rucchin. Richards tied it with 1:28 left in regulation by making a behind-the-back tip-in of Freddy Meyer's drive from the blue line.

Jagr gave the Rangers the lead in the second period and Rucinsky extended it early in the third.

Pitkanen's first goal ended Philadelphia's scoreless streak at 136 minutes, 57 seconds over three games. Lundqvist, in his first start against the Flyers, fell to 7-0-4 against Atlantic Division foes.

BRUINS 5, SENATORS 0: Tim Thomas made 44 saves for his first shutout and Brad Boyes had a goal and two assists to lead visiting Boston. Thomas made his ninth straight start for Boston, which lost 4-3 to the Islanders on Saturday, the only game in which the Bruins failed to register a point over that stretch (6-1-2). Thomas has appeared in 15 games in the league, including 11 straight since he was recalled from AHL Providence on Jan.10.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, PANTHERS 2: Darcy Tucker and Jeff O'Neill scored on two-man advantages in the third to help visiting Toronto snap an eight-game losing streak. Kyle Wellwood also had a power-play goal for the Maple Leafs in their first victory since Jan.7 against Edmonton. Ed Belfour made 33 saves, 30 in the first two periods.

RED WINGS 5, WILD 4: Defenseman Andreas Lilja scored his first goal in 71 games to help lead Detroit. Lilja, who last scored in 2003-04 when he was with the Panthers, beat Minnesota goalie Dwayne Roloson with a slap shot midway through the third to give Detroit a 5-3 lead. The Red Wings improved to 7-1-1 in their past nine road games.

BLUES 3, FLAMES 2 (SO): Rookie Lee Stempniak, called up from the minor leagues earlier in the day, scored in the fifth round of a shootout for host St. Louis. Stempniak also scored the tying goal in the second for the Blues, who came back from a 2-0 deficit in winning for the second time in 13 games.

STARS 3, SHARKS 2 (OT): Jason Arnott scored with 35 seconds left in the extra session to give host Dallas its fifth consecutive victory in its club record fourth straight overtime. Dallas won its previous three games in shootouts. Arnott set up in front of the net and shoveled a rebound past Evgeni Nabokov after the Sharks goalie blocked Brenden Morrow's shot. The Stars tied it at 2 on Sergei Zubov's power-play goal with 4:37 left in regulation.