Radivojevic Scores Late Game-Winner in 3-2 Victory
/ Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia, PA – Branko Radivojevic scored with 53 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild at the Wachovia Center.
On the winning goal, Mike Knuble knocked the puck down at the blue line before lifting a shot on net. Goaltender Manny Fernandez made the save, but could not stop a charging Radivojevic from knocking in the rebound.
"This is the way you have to get points," said Ken Hitchcock. "You have to win games like this when you don't have a lot of players healthy and we did that today. We got some really big efforts from a lot of people."
"It was a lucky break, Mike (Knuble) took a good shot and the puck came right back to me," said Radivojevic.
The game also marked the return of Peter Forsberg, who had missed the last six games with a groin injury. Forsberg had a goal and an assist in the game, earning him first star honors.
"In the beginning I felt really good," said Forsberg. "I got very tired at the end, and the third period was a struggle, but I'm happy we came away with the win. The groin felt good and that was the main thing."
"Peter is obviously not in game shape like he was before he got hurt, but this is huge for our hockey club," said Hitchcock of Forsberg's return. "It gives everybody a lot more confidence and makes our power play have some chemistry and some continuity on it."
It didn't take long for Forsberg to make his presence felt. He scored the game's first goal, intercepting a bad turnover by Minnesota's Willie Mitchell, skating it towards the net and lifting a wrist shot past the glove hand of Fernandez midway through the first period.
Forsberg also set up a number of scoring chances for the Flyers later in the period with Philadelphia on a 61-second two-man advantage, but the team failed to capitalize.
Kim Johnsson increased the lead to 2-0 in the second period when his wrist shot from the point on the power play found the back of the net at 8:35 with Sami Kapanen and Knuble in front of the net.
The Wild cut the lead to 2-1, however, when Alexandre Daigle found Nick Schultz in front of the net for a goal at 12:39, which is where the game stood after 40 minutes of play.
Minnesota tied the game at 4:47 of the third period on a two-man advantage. With Ben Eager and Johnsson in the penalty box, Marian Gaborik attempted a slap shot but broke his stick. The puck slid to Todd White at the side of the net, and White managed to beat a fallen Antero Niittymaki.
Niittymaki finished with 23 saves to earn the victory, including some key stops with the Wild on a power play late in the third period after Kapanen was called for interference at 16:04.
The Flyers were 1-for-7 on the power play and killed off six of seven Minnesota power plays.
The Flyers continue their stretch against Western Conference teams when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday before returning home to face the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
FLYERS NOTES NHL goal-scoring leader Simon Gagne missed his first game of the season and will be sidelined for approximately two weeks with a right groin strain. Eager and Freddy Meyer were recalled earlier in the day from the Phantoms. The Flyers improved to 3-2-1 against Minnesota all-time. Robert Esche returned after missing the last three games with a groin injury, serving as the backup to Niittymaki. The Flyers sold out their 16th home game of the season.