for this game

Knuble's late heroics lead Flyers over Thrashers

Jan 22, 2009 - 5:09 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Thrashers thought they finally might solve Antero Niittymaki and the Philadelphia Flyers. But then Mike Knuble took over.

Knuble scored twice in the second half of the third period as the Flyers squandered a three-goal lead before posting a 5-3 victory over the Thrashers on Wednesday.

Scott Hartnell, Darroll Powe and defenseman Randy Jones also tallied while All-Star Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne each notched a pair of assists for Philadelphia, which extended its winning streak against Atlanta to 13 games.

"It was big to come away with these two points," Jones said. "It's a team that's below us in the standings, and those games are always important."

Antero Niittymaki made 28 saves in improving his career record vs. the Thrashers to 12-0-0.

"I don't know what it is," the Finn said. "It's just one of those things that just happens. It's been close a couple times this year. The last game, they tied it up in the third and we were able to win it. You never know, but hopefully we can keep winning these games. I'll enjoy it."

Eric Perrin, captain Ilya Kovalchuk and Chris Thorburn scored for Atlanta, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

"It's like deja vu," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "It's identical to the last game we played here, and it's unfortunate. We hit three goalposts, missed on a round of breakaways. We were creating chances. We just need to get a little tighter in our own zone - it might have meant the difference."

Trailing, 3-0, after two periods, things were looking bleak for the Thrashers, who entered with just on regulation win in 17 all-time visits to the City of Brotherly Love. But Perrin got Atlanta on the scoreboard at 4:42 of the third, and Kovalchuk and Thorburn scored 61 seconds apart midway through the session to forge a 3-3 tie and silence the crowd at the Wachovia Center.

"We made a commitment to play our system and get pucks to the net," Thorburn said. "You saw what we can do when everybody is on the same page and we make simple plays. We were able to get the pucks through."

"To see a three-goal lead evaporate like that going into (the All-Star) break was the last thing we wanted to see,' Philadelphia coach John Stevens said.

Determined not to suffer a heartbreaking loss in their last game before the break, the Flyers reclaimed the lead with 7:48 remaining. After his first shot from the right faceoff circle was denied by Kari Lehtonen, Knuble grabbed his own rebound and beat the Finnish goaltender from the right side of the net for his 17th goal of the season.

"It felt like a normal attack, but I think our guys read the play differently, and Knuble was by himself," Lehtonen said. "I was able to make the first save, but I didn't see where the puck went. He saw the puck and was able to get it into the net."

"I'm thankful that we stepped up and came right back and scored a goal," Stevens said.

Flyers captain Mike Richards was thrilled to see Knuble put his team back in front, for a somewhat selfish reason.

"The first goal (by Atlanta) was my fault," Richards admitted. "It kind of got the ball rolling the other way. It was my fault. I turned the puck over."

Richards also was not shocked Philadelphia was able to overcome the lapse.

"We've been in that situation before, where we've blown leads and given up goals early in the game," he said. "It wasn't surprising that we were able to come back."

After Niittymaki made several superb saves, Knuble completed his fourth two-goal performance of the season by depositing the puck into an empty net with 41 seconds to go.

"If bad things happen, you just go out and try to do something positive and try and accomplish something," Knuble said. "We're still in control of the game. We were playing well. We just had some lackluster play there for 10 minutes in the third."

Hartnell opened the scoring at 9:54 of the first.

From along the left wing boards in his own zone, Todd White attempted a pass that hit the skate of Carter. The puck went right to Hartnell, who deked to his backhand before wrapping it around the outstretched right leg of Lehtonen for his 17th of the campaign.

Powe doubled the lead with 2:05 left in the session, putting a backhander past Lehtonen from the low slot after receiving a pass from above the left circle by Scottie Upshall.

"I thought that (fourth) line was terrific," Stevens said. "I thought they gave us a lot of energy. They made a lot of quick plays, created offense and had energy all the time. ... We need them to step up and fill the void and look at it as an opportunity, and I thought they did."

Jones made it 3-0 just 1:44 into the middle period, when he lifted a backhander into the net from below the right circle for his first tally of the season.

Perrin began Atlanta's comeback by grabbing a loose puck and beating Niittymaki to the stick side.

"We've had a habit now of giving one up early in the third in tight games," Knuble said. "It's because the break's coming up and you're kind of looking past that third period and not taking care of your play on the ice."

Kovalchuk scored on a wrist shot from the right circle, and Thorburn converted a breakaway chance, firing a low shot to the glove side of Niittymaki to knot the contest.

"I just happened to get in front of Jones' shot," Thorburn said of creating the breakaway. "It popped out to the neutral zone and I just skated. I didn't really think too much. I just shot it and it went into the net."

Lehtonen turned aside 28 shots.






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    Thrashers 3, Flyers 5  FinalJan 24 1:46 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 3 3
    PHILADELPHIA 2 1 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 17 (JEFF CARTER) 9:54
    PHI - DARROLL POWE 2 (SCOTTIE UPSHALL, CLAUDE GIROUX) 17:55
    2ND PRD: PHI - RANDY JONES 1 (JEFF CARTER, JOFFREY LUPUL) 1:44
    3RD PRD: ATL - ERIC PERRIN 5 (UNASSISTED) 4:42
    ATL

    Jan 21 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    PHILADELPHIA 5
    3RD PRD: PHI - (EN) MIKE KNUBLE 18 (SIMON GAGNE) 19:19

    Thrashers 3, Flyers 5  3rd - 0:41Jan 21 9:34 PM
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    Thrashers 3, Flyers 5  3rd - 0:41Jan 21 9:34 PM
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    Thrashers 3, Flyers 4  3rd - 0:43Jan 21 9:31 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    PHILADELPHIA 4
    3RD PRD: PHI - MIKE KNUBLE 17 (MIKE RICHARDS, SIMON GAGNE) 12:12

    Thrashers 3, Flyers 4  3rd - 7:48Jan 21 9:23 PM
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    Thrashers 3, Flyers 4  3rd - 7:48Jan 21 9:23 PM
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    Thrashers 3, Flyers 3  3rd - 8:00Jan 21 9:22 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 3
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - CHRIS THORBURN 6 (UNASSISTED) 10:49

    Thrashers 3, Flyers 3  3rd - 9:11Jan 21 9:17 PM
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    Thrashers 3, Flyers 3  3rd - 9:11Jan 21 9:17 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 2
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - ILYA KOVALCHUK 20 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, RICH PEVERLEY) 9:48

    Thrashers 2, Flyers 3  3rd - 10:12Jan 21 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    3RD PRD: ATL - ERIC PERRIN 5 (UNASSISTED) 4:42

    Thrashers 1, Flyers 3  3rd - 15:18Jan 21 9:10 PM
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    Thrashers 0, Flyers 3  3rd - 17:50Jan 21 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0 0
    PHILADELPHIA 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 17 (JEFF CARTER) 9:54
    PHI - DARROLL POWE 2 (SCOTTIE UPSHALL, CLAUDE GIROUX) 17:55
    2ND PRD: PHI - RANDY JONES 1 (JEFF CARTER, JOFFREY LUPUL) 1:44
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD T

    Jan 21 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    2ND PRD: PHI - RANDY JONES 1 (JEFF CARTER, JOFFREY LUPUL) 1:44

    Thrashers 0, Flyers 3  2nd - 18:16Jan 21 8:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    PHILADELPHIA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 17 (JEFF CARTER) 9:54
    PHI - DARROLL POWE 2 (SCOTTIE UPSHALL, CLAUDE GIROUX) 17:55
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 9 9
    PHI 14

    Jan 21 7:46 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    1ST PRD: PHI - DARROLL POWE 2 (SCOTTIE UPSHALL, CLAUDE GIROUX) 17:55

    Thrashers 0, Flyers 2  1st - 2:05Jan 21 7:43 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 0
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    1ST PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 17 (JEFF CARTER) 9:54

    Thrashers 0, Flyers 1  1st - 10:06Jan 21 7:27 PM