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Flyers top Lightning 4-3 in OT

by Brian Compton
First, he failed to cash in on a penalty shot in the final minute of regulation that would have given his team the lead. Then he was whistled for goaltender interference in overtime, resulting in a power-play goal for the opposition.

Yes, it was that kind of night for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone.

With Malone in the penalty box, Mike Richards took a feed from Kimmo Timonen in the high slot and rifled a slap shot past Mike Smith for his second goal of the game, lifting the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Lightning at the Wachovia Center on Tuesday night.

''Kimmo and I had talked a little bit before the game just about special teams and what we wanted to do,'' Richards said. ''He actually drew that play up 5-on-3, but 5-on-4 was kind of the same thing."

Jeff Carter also contributed with a two-goal game for the Flyers, who wasted a 3-1 lead before Richards secured the two points for Philadelphia. Vaclav Prospal scored just 21 seconds after Carter had made it 3-1 before another ex-Flyer, Steve Downie, tied the game with 4:35 remaining in regulation.

Tampa Bay had a chance to win when, with 16.3 seconds left in the third period, Malone was awarded a penalty shot after Flyers forward Scott Hartnell threw his glove during Malone's breakaway chance. Hartnell was bailed out when Biron managed to get his right pad on Malone's wrist shot to keep the game tied.

''I didn't know he was going to go wide, but I got a toe on it,'' Biron said.

Flyers coach John Stevens was puzzled by Hartnell's decision to throw his glove at Malone.

"I'm not sure what he was thinking on that play," Stevens said. "Obviously, he wasn't. Marty had to make two saves, but the outcome justifies it."

Afterwards, Hartnell admitted it wasn't the best decision. Fortunately for he and the Flyers, it didn't result in a loss.

''It was just a desperation play,'' he said. ''Looking back, it was stupid.''

Carter continued his torrid scoring pace with a power-play goal at 2:58 of the first period with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. Less than 10 minutes later, veteran forward Mark Recchi tied the game for Tampa Bay when he tapped home his own rebound for a power-play tally.

Philadelphia's Scottie Upshall was assessed a major penalty and was ejected from the game for boarding Evgeny Artyukhin with 2:33 left in the first period, but the Lightning were unable to take advantage of the five-minute power play. Biron finished with 35 saves.

''It's frustrating, but it's a fine line,'' said Rick Tocchet, who fell to 1-3-4 behind the bench since taking over for fired coach Barry Melrose. ''When you're losing, it gets a little contagious, so you need some kind of break to get some kind of winning streak.''

The score would remain 1-1 until Richards scored an unassisted, shorthanded goal 36 seconds into the third period. The Flyers lead the NHL with 10 shorthanded goals. Carter, who is tied with Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres for the League lead with 18 tallies, scored on a scramble in front to put the Flyers ahead 3-1 at 4:36.

Prospal's power-play tally on a deflection 21 seconds later got the Lightning within a goal. Downie, making his first appearance in Philadelphia for the Lightning since being acquired from the Flyers in the deal that sent Matt Carle to the City of Brotherly Love on Nov. 7, tied it by knocking in a rebound at 15:25.

''We played a good game,'' Tampa Bay rookie forward Steven Stamkos said after his team's 10th loss in 11 games. ''We showed some character coming back from 3-1, but when things aren't going well, they really aren't going well. It's really tough right now with the way things are going.''

Flyers forward Danny Briere, who returned after missing nine games with a groin strain, was forced to leave in the second period when he experienced discomfort in the same general area. Briere is expected to be evaluated on Wednesday.

''Our doctors think it's scar tissue breaking up,'' Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren said.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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