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Gagne's Overtime Goal Leads Flyers to 5-4 Win

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA, March 6) – The Flyers scored four goals in the second period and Simon Gagne tallied in overtime, leading Philadelphia to a 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center.

On the winning goal, Gagne took a pass through the slot from Randy Jones and slid in his own rebound for his 36th goal of the season in the Flyers' fourth straight overtime game.

Goaltender Martin Biron recorded the win in his home debut, making 37 saves.

One save in particular stood out among the rest, however. With the Flyers holding a 4-3 third period lead, Biron stopped Patrik Elias from the side of the net on the power play. The rebound went to the opposite point to Jamie Langenbrunner, and Biron spun around on his back and got his right pad on the blast bringing the crowd to its feet.

"The save he made in the third period was just unbelievable," said John Stevens. "I think that he has that ability to hold you in there with spectacular saves."

"I have always liked this building. Whatever reason the energy is always great in this building," said Biron. "I have had some good games here, so when the trade happened, I was excited because I knew it was a building that I feel comfortable in."

Brad Lukowich forced overtime when the Flyers were unable to clear a loose puck from in front of the crease with 5:35 left in regulation, but Gagne's goal gave Philadelphia its first win of the season against the Devils in six tries.

"It is a good sign that we are in every game," said Stevens. "It is really encouraging that we came [back] when we gave up the lead."

The Devils scored the only goal of the first period, before a wild second ended with Philadelphia holding a 4-3 lead.

Geoff Sanderson's breakaway goal just 56 seconds into the frame momentarily tied the game, but New Jersey took the lead back later when Elias put on the breaks in front of Jones and fired the puck inside the far post at 12:36.

The goals came fast and furious throughout the remainder of the period. Again, the Flyers tied the game on a fortunate bounce when Sami Kapanen flubbed a shot on a deflected puck that bounced into the net off of the shoulder of Lukowich on the power play at 13:53. The goal helped snap a drought which saw Philadelphia go 1-for-32 over seven-plus games.

Sergei Brylin's deflection on a shot by Elias gave New Jersey the lead back at 17:19, but the Flyers tallied twice before the intermission.

First, on a three-on-two rush, Kapanen left the puck for Mike Richards in the faceoff circle and Richards fired in his sixth goal of the season just 42 seconds after Brylin's goal.

Kapanen has three goals and four assists in his last five games.

Scottie Upshall chipped in a pass from Gagne with 34 seconds remaining to give the Flyers their first lead of the game.

Philadelphia improved to 7-6-6 since the All-Star break.

"There is so much upside to our team right now that we are not looking at the standings," said Upshall. "We are playing hockey the way that it should be played. We are playing hard. We are playing fast. I think we are skating well and taking care of our own zone and it has been working."

The Flyers remain home on Thursday to host the Florida Panthers night in the team's annual Fan Appreciation Game.

Upshall has four goals and three assists in nine games with the Flyers so far. … Alexandre Picard was a healthy scratch, while Jones and Dmitry Afanasenkov were inserted back into the Flyers' lineup. … R.J. Umberger's three-game goal-scoring streak came to an end. With 39 wins, Brodeur trails Bernie Parent's all-time record for wins in a season with 47.
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