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Flyers edge Blackhawks 5-4

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- As long as Patrick Kane and James van Riemsdyk are playing in the NHL, their names will be linked as the first and second picks, respectively, in the 2007 Entry Draft.

They were together again Thursday again in Philadelphia, with Kane again getting one and van Riemsdyk getting two. Only this time, instead of draft slots, they were goals. Van Riemsdyk's second goal of the night, with 32.8 seconds left in regulation, lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a wild 5-4 victory against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

It was Chicago's first visit to Philadelphia since June 9, 2010 -- Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final -- when Kane's overtime goal in gave the Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

Kane appeared to be killing Philadelphia's hopes again when he scored the Hawks' second goal in 25 seconds at 14:40 of the third period to tie the game.

But Kane was whistled for high-sticking with 1:38 remaining. On the ensuing power play, Claude Giroux worked the puck from the left boards to Scott Hartnell on the left post. Hartnell slid a pass to an onrushing cutting van Riemsdyk, and the big forward deposited his 11th of the season into the back of the net.

"It's exciting to contribute," van Riemsdyk said. "Some things, some bounces haven't necessarily gone my way for most of the year. It feels good to contribute and help the team win."

Van Riemsdyk said seeing Kane on the other side didn't provide all that much extra motivation, but noted it's always fun to go against the only player taken before him in their draft year.

"It was fun to go through the draft things together and be with a guy like James because he was a really good friend of mine," Kane said. "I went to high school with the guy in Ann Arbor (Mich.), next thing you know you're going through those things together. The first time Americans were drafted one and two in the draft, and we had some fun with it. He'll always be a close friend of mine."

"He's a good buddy," van Riemsdyk said of Kane. "When you're playing against guys like that, it's a test for yourself. Those games are exciting to play in. They're a really good team and we have a really good team, so usually the games are pretty exciting."

This one was no different, as the Flyers appeared to wrest control with a three-goal second period only to see the Blackhawks rally late and nearly force overtime.

Hartnell had a goal and an assist, and Jakub Voracek and Harry Zolnierczyk also scored for the Flyers. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, in his return to the net, stopped 30 shots.

Jimmy Hayes, Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook and Kane scored for the Blackhawks, while goalie Ray Emery stopped 41 of the 46 shots the Flyers threw at him.

Philadelphia's win didn't come without some disappointment, as the team lost stalwart defenseman Kimmo Timonen after just five shifts in the first two periods due to an upper-body injury. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said Timonen would be re-evaluated Friday but provided no other information.

Timonen played just 5:32, well below his average of 22:10 per game. The 36-year-old also leads the team's defensemen with a plus-13 rating; he hasn't missed a game since the 2008-09 season.

The Flyers looked to be in control of the game late in the third period, leading 4-2 and going on a four-minute power play when Patrick Sharp was whistled for a double minor for high sticking Giroux.

However, their best chance came on a Hartnell tip that hit the post, and the Blackhawks immediately went the other way, with Seabrook finishing a 4-on-3 rush with a wrist shot past Bryzgalov at 14:15, just as Sharp was leaving the box. Just 25 seconds later, Kane scored off a Marc-Andre Bourdon defensive-zone turnover to tie the game.

"I had a deflection and hit the post," Hartnell said. "They go right down the ice and score, 30 seconds later they scored again, and it was like, 'Oh man, what's going on here?'"

The feeling on the bench, however, remained positive.

"Let's go get the next one," van Riemsdyk said. "That's what we talked about on the ice."

It hasn't been an easy season for van Riemsdyk, who faced big expectations coming into the season following an outstanding 2011 postseason and the trades of offensive pieces Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. He had one goal in 13 games entering Thursday. But playing with new linemates -- he skated with center Brayden Schenn and forward Wayne Simmonds -- seemed to be a spark.

"I don't think I felt this comfortable and confident on the ice as I did at points last year," he said. "I'm still working toward that for whatever reason. We had good chemistry on our line for whatever reason, so that made it fun."

That trio set up the Flyers' fourth goal, as strong puck possession in the offensive zone led to Schenn and Simmonds getting chances. Emery stopped them both, but van Riemsdyk was there to clean up one final rebound.

"For (van Riemsdyk) to step up and have a good game, it's good for him," Hartnell said. "I think he needed it. Hats off to him, he got a big goal in the end."

For most of the game it didn't look like they would need much in the way of heroics.

Hayes opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games as the Hawks took advantage of a turnover by the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo, but Voracek answered with 50.2 seconds left in the first when he scored off the carom of a Braydon Coburn shot off the end boards.

Shaw, in his first NHL game, made a nice move from behind the Philadelphia net to score his first NHL goal at 7:37 of the second to put the Hawks up 2-1 before Hartnell, Zolnierczyk and van Riemsdyk scored in a 4:20 span to put Philadelphia ahead 4-2.

But they had to hold on in a game that resembled a track meet.

"It was a fast hockey game, maybe the fastest we played all year," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "We were fast. I thought we did a good job coming off the (Winter Classic), not sure where our guys would be at. Chicago has a real fast team, up and down the ice. You saw that transition sometimes from offense to defense both ways -- it was quick."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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