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Sim Hat Trick Leads Flyers to 5-2 Victory

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia, PA – Jon Sim scored three goals, the second coming in the third period for the eventual game-winner to break a 2-2 tie, as the Flyers remained perfect in the preseason with a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Wachovia Center.

On the winning goal, Flyers left wing Mike Knuble threw a weak backhand towards Capitals goaltender Maxime Ouellet. The puck bounced around the crease after Ouellet made the initial save, and Sim was there to whack it in at 9:57.

Sim's third goal came at 17:18 of the third period, as he slam-dunked a perfect cross-ice pass from Mike Richards. An empty-net goal by Branko Radivojevic in the final minute capped the scoring.

In all, the Sim-Richards-Knuble line generated a total of nine points on the night. After the game, however, the focus was on Sim, who now has five goals and three assists for eight points, leading the team.

"I think the thing for Jon, is that some players mature later in their career and Jon's figured that out," said Ken Hitchcock. Jon knows what it takes to stay in the lineup and play in the National Hockey League now, and I think he is willing to do all of the things that the coach wants him to do so he can have success.

"I've always had that confidence that I could succeed," said Sim. It's just that when I came here, things seemed to really go my way and the organization and I seem to play the same kind of style and I'm really excited. I just want to keep playing well.

The game was tied 1-1 after two periods of play, but Richards un-tied it with his first goal of the preseason. He took a pass from Sim at the blue line, skated around Capitals defenseman Mathieu Biron, and lifted the puck past Ouellet just 31 seconds into the final frame.

Washington tied the game at two on a goal by Brian Sutherby at 8:08.

The Flyers went on the first three power plays of the game, capitalizing on the third. Sim took a wrist shot from the faceoff circle that trickled through the former Flyer Ouellet at 12:06. Richards and Kim Johnsson picked up the assists.

Washington tied the game on a power play in the second period. Sutherby took a shot from the point that was stopped by Esche, but Miroslav Zalesak was there to backhand in the rebound at 16:12.

Robert Esche played in net for the entire game for Philadelphia, making 25 saves. He was happy to be back on home ice.

"It felt great," he said. I was so excited all day today that I even didn't even get a pre-game nap. When you get on the ice, everything seems to go away. It felt like we were back home again and it was a great feeling.

Philadelphia is now a perfect 3-0 in the preseason, while Washington fell to 0-3-1.

The Flyers have two more home preseason games at the Wachovia Center on Tuesday, September 27 when they host the New York Islanders, and Thursday, September 29 when the New Jersey Devils come to town.

Phantoms regular Josh Gratton played in the game for the Flyers, and engaged in a second period fight with Washington's Brendan Witt. … The scratches for the Flyers included injured players Sami Kapanen, Peter Forsberg and Derian Hatcher, while Donald Brashear, Chris Therien and R.J. Umberger also did not dress. … The Flyers lost their first post-game shootout, 4-3. Brian Savage, Joni Pitkanen and Sim scored, while Johnsson and Simon Gagne were unable to convert. … The Flyers do not practice tomorrow, as Hitchcock gave the entire team the day off.
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