Sabres
Flyers
3 - 4 Final
  for this game

Knuble sparks rare third-period rally by Flyers

Apr 8, 2007 - 10:55 PM
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- When trailing after two periods, the Philadelphia Flyers normally fold their tents. Mike Knuble refused to pack it in this time.

Knuble forged a tie early in the third period and set up Mike Richards' goal midway through the session to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Presidents' Trophy-winning Buffalo Sabres in the final regular-season contest for both clubs.

Entering just 1-38-5 when down after 40 minutes this season, the Flyers gave their fans hope for better things next campaign. With the club trailing, 3-2, Knuble netted his 24th goal of the season - and first in six games - at 3:42 of the third to knot the contest.

With Philadelphia on a power play just over five minutes later, Knuble grabbed a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and skated behind the net before making a stuff attempt on his backhand at the right goalpost. Goaltender Ty Conklin managed to stop the puck but could not control it, and Richards swooped in and poked it over the goal line at 8:45 for his 10th of the campaign and second in as many days.

"We beat a good team and we were able to come back in the third and stay with it," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "We came from behind, but if you look at the history of hockey, you don't come from behind very often to beat teams. We obviously haven't done it very much this yeara, but I think this win is a real credit to our team."

"Coach Stevens walked in and put it in perspective," Flyers netminder Martin Biron said. "This was our last 20 minutes of the year. It was a tough year and we wanted to end things on a good note. We played a very good team and we were down by one, but we knew we could go out and win the game. I think our guys took that approach."

Simon Gagne scored in his third straight game and rookie Stefan Ruzicka also tallied for the Flyers (22-48-12), who halted a five-game losing streak and improved to 7-40-5 when allowing the first goal.

"It's going to be a long summer, but at least we finished the way we did," Gagne said. "We found a way to beat them. It's fun for us, but we know on the other side, they wanted to take it easy on us. They don't want to get hurt before the playoffs."

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff agreed.

"I think you look at it as, you want to get through the game," Ruff said. "The important part is that we've gotten ourselves healthy and we didn't want to get anybody hurt. ... You don't want a key injury when you have a game that doesn't mean anything."

Derek Roy extended his goal-scoring streak to four games and Maxim Afinogenov collected two assists for Buffalo (53-22-7), which failed to sweep the four-game season series against Philadelphia.

"We rolled four lines and we didn't want to overplay guys," said Sabres center Tim Connolly, who was playing just his second game of the season. "At the same time, you want to finish on a good note and win the hockey game. Winning the Presidents' Trophy and clinching that the night before, the guys spent a lot of energy doing that. We're very happy with that, but we also wanted to win this game."

The top-seeded Sabres still were awaiting the identity of their opponent in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. But the New York Islanders (40-30-12) claimed the last playoff berth with a dramatic shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, setting up a return to Buffalo for Islanders coach Ted Nolan, who won the Jack Adams Award with the Sabres in 1996-97 - his last season behind an NHL bench before joining New York this campaign.

Thomas Vanek opened the scoring midway through the first period with his team-leading 43rd goal, but Gagne answered 54 seconds later with his 41st tally. Ruzicka put Philadelphia ahead at 2:04 of the second, burying the rebound of defenseman Braydon Coburn's shot from the left faceoff circle for his third career goal.

Buffalo drew even with 4:28 to go in the period on a bizarre play. Biron stopped Chris Drury's slap shot from the left circle, but defenseman Joni Pitkanen's attempt to clear the loose puck from the doorstep hit Jason Pominville before striking the left goalpost.

Blue-liner Derian Hatcher tried to poke it out of the crease, but combined with Biron's attempt to knock it away, the puck entered the net, giving Pominville his 34th goal.

Roy provided the Sabres a 3-2 lead with 11 seconds left in the middle session, whacking in his own rebound with Hatcher standing idly nearby. The hulking defenseman struggled mightily for the Flyers this season, finishing the campaign with a horrendous minus-24 rating.

Knuble evened the game early in the third, firing a shot past Conklin immediately after a faceoff win in the right circle.

Acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline on February 27, Biron made 27 saves for Philadelphia, which went 1-2-1 in the season series against the Sabres.

"I wanted to win because I wanted to end the season on a good note," Biron said. "We lost a lot of one-goal games, and some of those teams (that beat us) are top teams in the league. That was key for us. It was great today, and to do it against a former team is all the sweeter."

With Ryan Miller being rested for the postseason, Conklin got a rare start and turned aside 29 shots for the Sabres. However, the 31-year-old backup was not very pleased with his performance.

"I would have helped myself if I had stayed down a little bit," he said. "You start losing sight of the puck, you start wondering where it is and you get in trouble, especially on the winning goal. I feel that i made the most difficult saves but struggled with the puck right around the crease."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 2 0 3
    PHILADELPHIA 1 1 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 43 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    10:21
    PHI - SIMON GAGNE 41 (MIKE KNUBLE, DERIAN HATCHER) 11:15
    2ND PRD: PHI - STEFAN RUZICKA 3 (BRAYDON COBURN, SCOTTIE UPSHALL)
    2:04
    BUF - JASON POMINVILLE

    Apr 8 3:31 PM
  • 17
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 17 roots

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 3:28 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    PHILADELPHIA 4
    3RD PRD: PHI - (PP) MIKE RICHARDS 10 (MIKE KNUBLE, RANDY JONES) 8:45

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 3:11 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    3RD PRD: PHI - MIKE KNUBLE 24 (SIMON GAGNE) 3:42

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 3:02 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 2 3
    PHILADELPHIA 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 43 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    10:21
    PHI - SIMON GAGNE 41 (MIKE KNUBLE, DERIAN HATCHER) 11:15
    2ND PRD: PHI - STEFAN RUZICKA 3 (BRAYDON COBURN, SCOTTIE UPSHALL)
    2:04
    BUF - JASO

    Apr 8 2:39 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - DEREK ROY 21 (THOMAS VANEK, MAXIM AFINOGENOV) 19:49

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 2:38 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - JASON POMINVILLE 34 (CHRIS DRURY) 15:32

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 2:31 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    2ND PRD: PHI - STEFAN RUZICKA 3 (BRAYDON COBURN, SCOTTIE UPSHALL) 2:04

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 2:05 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1
    PHILADELPHIA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 43 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    10:21
    PHI - SIMON GAGNE 41 (MIKE KNUBLE) 11:15
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 9 9
    PHI 1

    Apr 8 1:44 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    1ST PRD: PHI - SIMON GAGNE 41 (MIKE KNUBLE) 11:15

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 1:28 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    1ST PRD: BUF - THOMAS VANEK 43 (MAXIM AFINOGENOV, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    10:21

    Sabres vs. FlyersApr 8 1:27 PM