(Los Angeles, CA, November 16) – R.J. Umberger scored two third period goals as the Flyers erased a late two-goal deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in a wild comeback at the Staples Center on Thursday night, 4-3.
Los Angeles took a 3-1 lead in the third period before the Flyers stormed back to tie it up and then take the lead.
First, Mike Knuble poked a bouncing puck at the blue line ahead to Simon Gagne, who went in alone on goaltender Dan Cloutier and beat him high to the stick side with 6:47 left in regulation.
Umberger tied it just 40 seconds later. After an offensive zone faceoff win, Umberger got control of the puck in the circle and flipped it on net. The puck went through several bodies that were screening Cloutier on the play to tie the game.
Umberger gave the Flyers the lead with 3:37 left. Mike Richards attempted a pass which went off of defenseman Mattias Norstrom's skate to the stick of Umberger, who poked it through for the game-winner.
"We were down 3-1 and nobody was hanging their head on the bench," said John Stevens after the game. "It's certainly a win, coming off the Anaheim game that is something positive for us to build on. It's a huge win for us."
The Kings put tremendous pressure on the Flyers and goaltender Antero Niittymaki in the final minute of play, but were not able to tie the score. Niittymaki picked up his first win since October 26 in Atlanta, stopping 26 shots.
"It was a great battle at the end to make sure the puck wasn't in our net," said Stevens.
The game marked the Flyers' first winning streak of the season, as they defeated the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
"The last week and half or two weeks we've put some good efforts in," said Umberger. "Back-to-back now; it's a big building block for our team right now. I think we're starting to come around."
"We took the game from them. We're extremely happy in the locker room right now. We've had been a little bit fragile getting down this season, but tonight and lately we have stuck with it," added Knuble.
Philadelphia's four-game road swing ends on Saturday in San Jose (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). The team returns home for a game on Monday, November 20 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Los Angeles broke the 1-1 tie with two third period goals on Brian Willsie's wrist shot from the slot at 2:37 and Alexander Frolov's second goal of the game on a two-on-one rush at 9:24.
Philadelphia had a couple of good scoring chances in the first period before taking a 1-0 lead. Knuble was stopped at the side of the net by Cloutier in the first minute of play, and later Gagne's backhanded try skating alone in on net was knocked away by the Los Angeles goaltender.
Niittymaki did his part to keep it scoreless, stopping Anze Kopitar on a shorthanded breakaway seven minutes into the game.
Geoff Sanderson was able to put Philadelphia on the board first. He took a pass from Randy Robitaille while charging the net, got Cloutier to commit, and skated behind the net for a wraparound goal with just over a minute left in the period.
Sanderson has scored a goal in each of the last three games.
"We're starting to get play from everybody. Peter Forsberg's line has been playing good, we've been getting some good goaltending, and we're starting to score some goals," said Umberger.
Los Angeles tied the score with the only goal in the second period. The Flyers were unable to clear a loose puck beside the goal crease and Frolov lifted it in at 2:31.
The game was the first meeting between the Flyers and the Kings since October 21, 2003.
FLYERS NOTES Like the Flyers, the Los Angeles Kings are also celebrating their 40th year of existence. … Philadelphia played the same lineup as Wednesday night, with Ryan Potulny and Kyle Calder as the scratched players. … Marty Murray, who was claimed by the Kings off of waivers from the Flyers on November 11, played in the game. … The Flyers are now 38-21-8-0 all time in Los Angeles including winning four of last five games here.