(Philadelphia, PA, March 10) – The Philadelphia Flyers scored three unanswered goals in the third period en route to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at the Wachovia Center on Saturday afternoon.
With the game tied 1-1 after the second, Mike Richards forced Boston captain Zdeno Chara into a turnover in the Bruins' zone. Dmitry Afanasenkov took control of the puck and found Richards in front of the net, and Richards deposited his own rebound at 1:16 for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
"[Afanasenkov] just kind of stepped around the guy and threw it to me," said Richards. "My first shot wasn't really where I wanted to put it, but the rebound came right back to me and I tried to get it over [goaltender Joey MacDonald]."
Later in the second, R.J. Umberger got to a puck in the Boston zone with the Flyers shorthanded. He skated towards the high slot and slid a backhand to Scottie Upshall, who blasted a laser over the shoulder of MacDonald to make it a 3-1 Flyers lead at 13:17.
"I think it's a good sign for our hockey team when we are playing teams with a lot at stake," said John Stevens. "We ourselves are starting to show that we can beat good teams and we can be a good team ourselves."
Afanasenkov's empty net goal late in the game capped the scoring.
Martin Biron, who won his Flyers debut in Boston on March 1, recorded the victory in net with 26 saves.
Philadelphia improved to 8-7-6 since the All-Star Break, and spilt the four-game season series with the Bruins.
Upshall in particular was all over the ice in registering a goal and an assist in the game.
"He is very good at both ends of the rink," said Stevens. "He is defensively responsible and he can be a game breaker type player. He had a great chance there in the second period where he used his quickness to get away and then the shorthanded goal. You love to see that enthusiasm that he shows in a young player."
"I'm excited to be out there. I like the way we play when we go hard," said Upshall. "It's a good atmosphere. The fans are into it and when you score goals it's a great feeling. You get pretty pumped up."
Simon Gagne's 37th goal of the season gave the Flyers the early lead. Upshall found a loose puck along the boards and fed Gagne for a slap shot from the top of the circle that beat McDonald at 1:58.
Gagne stands at seventh in the NHL in goal scoring this season, but left the game in the third period with a left groin strain and will be out until at least March 15.
"I felt it right away in the muscle and felt it give way. I did not want to take any chances," said Gagne. "I am not going to make the trip. I am going to stay here and do some rehab and on Monday we will get an MRI to make sure everything is fine."
Dennis Wideman tied the game with a slap shot at 7:30 of the first period.
Philadelphia had a couple of golden opportunities to take the lead. With the game tied 1-1 in the first period, penalties to Chara and Marc Savard gave the Flyers a two-minute two-man advantage. An interference call on Jeff Carter just 33 seconds later, however, nullified that chance.
Another five-on-three came in the second period and again the Flyers were unable to take advantage. Geoff Sanderson's shot towards an open net sailed high and it remained 1-1 after 40 minutes.
"Games that are 1-1 going into the third are ones we need to win," said Upshall. "From what the guys have been talking about, it's the one-goal slides we haven't been on the winning side of, and I think today we showed we could pull it off."
Philadelphia was 0-for-4 on the power play and killed off all five Boston chances.
The Flyers travel to Phoenix on Monday and Dallas on Tuesday before returning home to play the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday, March 15.
FLYERS NOTES Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki and his wife, Miina, celebrated the birth of their second child, a daughter, Frida, on Friday night. ... Robert Esche served as Biron's backup. … Alexandre Picard and Denis Hamel were inserted back into the lineup for Randy Jones and Stefan Ruzicka.