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Hartnell's OT winner lifts Flyers over Kings

Tuesday, 01.29.2008 / 11:42 PM / Game of the Night

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Scott Hartnell scored with 28.5 seconds left in overtime and the Flyers took over sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division with a 3-2 victory over the Kings.
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A microphone malfunction wouldn’t allow Scott Hartnell to hear Kerry Fraser’s ruling on his overtime goal Tuesday night. So he simply waited for the Wachovia Center crowd to erupt before raising his arms in the air.
       
''When I heard the cheers, I knew we won,'' Hartnell said.
       
Hartnell’s sliding goal – which went off his skate before trickling past goalie Jason LaBarbera and into the net with 28.5 seconds to play – not only gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, it also gave the Flyers sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
       
The goal was reviewed, but replays indicated that there wasn’t any distinct kicking motion involved following a pass from Mike Richards. Coupled with the New Jersey Devils’ 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, it gave the Flyers the lead in a division in which the distance between first place and last is just seven points.
       
''It happened so fast. It was tough for me to see,'' LaBarbera said. ''I know it didn't go off (Hartnell's) stick. It just bounced off the ice and hit his shin pad and it went in. Fluke play.''
       
“I would say distinct sliding motion,” Hartnell said of the game-winning tally. “I was just going to the net, and Richie made a great pass, and I knew I couldn’t bat it out of the air. But the guy knocked me too, and [the puck] was just kind of falling down, and hit my skate and went in the net. It doesn’t matter how pretty they are; it matters when you win games, and we got the two points tonight.”
       
Following a scoreless first period, Braydon Coburn gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead just 57 seconds into the second. The big defenseman fired a shot from just inside the point that found its way through a crowd and past a screened LaBarbera. It was his fourth goal of the season.
       
Less than a minute later, Anze Kopitar tied things up with his 20th goal of the campaign. The speedy forward took advantage of a giveaway by Richards along the boards before beating Martin Biron to make it 1-1.
       
Philadelphia capitalized on a hooking penalty to Jaroslav Modry early in the third period, as Simon Gagne was able to redirect All-Star defenseman Kimmo Timonen’s blast from the point past LaBarbera to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 3:38. It was Gagne’s seventh goal of the season and extended Philadelphia’s power-play tally streak to 11 games.
       

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“There has been a lot of talk about our power play lately,” Flyers coach John Stevens said.

“Teams are really coming in and hunkering down. We have done a good job all year of taking advantage of our opportunities shooting the puck. We have done a great job all year of moving the puck quickly and as soon as there is a lane to the net, we shoot the puck with traffic in front of the net.”
       
But Matt Moulson helped the Kings gain a point in the standings when he tied the game with 7:02 to play in regulation. With the teams at even strength, Moulson deflected Lubomir Visnovsky’s shot past Biron to make it 2-2.

Despite the disappointing finish, the game was a positive way for Los Angeles to open a season-high, eight-game road trip that continues on Thursday night on Long Island.
       
''We got a point out of it in a tough building,'' Kings coach Marc Crawford said. ''It's something we can build on.''
       
The Kings nearly won the game in overtime, but Biron was able to make a sparkling pad save on a golden opportunity in front by rookie defenseman Jack Johnson. Biron made 29 saves for his fourth straight win.
       
Johnson’s chance was the lone shot on goal in the extra session for Los Angeles, as the Flyers controlled the tempo for the majority of the period. While Hartnell’s goal wasn’t the prettiest of the season, Biron was pleased to see his team rewarded after it outworked the Kings in overtime.
       
“It’s very nice, especially the way it happened,” Biron said. “I think we dominated in overtime and they have a lot of skills, so they were able to do some good stuff. For us to get a goal 4-on-4 like that, we really did what we had to do, and it’s a simple play, but it’s a guy driving to the net and just another guy getting the puck to the crease and hopefully it goes in.”
        
The victory was one the Flyers can build on. After all, it marked the first time since Oct. 20 that Philadelphia was able to record a win in overtime – a span of seven games.
       
''It's nice to finally win one in overtime,'' Coburn said.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers