(Philadelphia, PA, February 10) – Simon Gagne tied the game in the third period and won it in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers ended their home winless streak with a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues at the Wachovia Center on Saturday night.
A holding penalty on the Blues' Peter Cajanek with three seconds left in regulation gave Philadelphia a power play to start overtime. The game-winning goal came when Mike Knuble controlled the rebound of a shot by Alexei Zhitnik and slid the puck to an open Gagne just 27 seconds after the faceoff.
Gagne tied the game when Peter Forsberg found Derian Hatcher with a pass through the slot, and Gagne tipped in a pass from Hatcher with 4:55 remaining. It was Gagne's second consecutive two-goal effort.
"Mike Knuble did a great job out front of the net up there. All four guys were involved in the play. Gagne is the guy we look for to carry the offense, so it was a great play," said John Stevens.
The victory ended Philadelphia's 13-game winless streak at home and was the first win in front of the home fans since November 24.
"It feels good to finally get this one at home," said Gagne. "We have been getting closer and closer and we got a break with a power play in overtime, which was the luck we were looking for."
"You could see the relief in the crowd, too," said Mike Richards. "They were on their feet near the end, and once we got the [overtime] goal, it was a little sigh of relief."
After a scoreless first period, the teams scored twice each in the second.
First, Ben Eager and Denis Gauthier were sent to the penalty box just three seconds apart, leading to a lengthy five-on-three power play for St. Louis. Lee Stempniak's rebound goal at 1:45 gave the Blues the lead.
The Flyers responded with the next two. First, Jeff Carter fired a wrist shot from the faceoff dot over goaltender Curtis Sanford at 5:13 on the power play. The goal was Carter's ninth of the season and fifth in his last seven games.
Midway through the frame, it was Richards scoring his third goal of the season. A slap shot by Kyle Calder was blocked, but the puck went right to Richards who was headed towards the net and the second-year center poked his own rebound past the goal line.
An unfortunate bounce for Philadelphia tied the game when Doug Weight, from behind the net, scored off of Gauthier's left skate.
David Backes' goal at 6:33 of the third period gave the Blues the lead.
The game marked the Flyers debut for goaltender Michael Leighton, who recorded the victory with 25 saves. Leighton was claimed off of waivers by Philadelphia from Nashville on January 11 but had yet to see any game action.
"It's hard when you haven't played in a while, especially at this level, but he has played in the NHL before," said Stevens. "He was confident when we told him he was playing. I thought he looked pretty composed for not playing in awhile."
The Flyers remain home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night at the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m., Versus, 610 WIP). Former captain Keith Primeau will be honored in a pregame ceremony prior to the opening faceoff.
FLYERS NOTES The Flyers were 2-for-6 on the power play while St. Louis was 1-for-5. … The Flyers improved to 46-12-10 all-time against St. Louis at home. … Philadelphia won its first overtime game of the season (1-3). … Robert Esche and Mike York did not dress for the Flyers.