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Flyers win in shootout for fourth straight

by Adam Kimelman /
PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers forward Scott Hartnell started the season spinning his wheels, but some time spinning the pedals seems to have fixed whatever his problem was.
Hartnell scored in regulation, and Claude Giroux and Mika Pyorala scored in the shootout as the Philadelphia Flyers won their fourth straight game, beating the visiting St. Louis Blues, 2-1.
Ray Emery stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Philadelphia goal, and then denied David Backes on the Blues' final attempt in the shootout to secure the victory.
T.J. Oshie scored the Blues' lone goal, and goalie Chris Mason made 35 saves. Brad Boyes scored in the shootout.
Hartnell picked up what's quickly becoming a trademark goal for him to open the scoring. Claude Giroux carried the puck down the right wing and flipped a pass toward the net. Hartnell drove to the goal and got his stick on the puck to tip it past Mason as he slid skates-first into the net. After a short review, the play stood.
The goal was Hartnell's fifth, all of them coming on the power play, and four of the five coming in the last five games. It's a marked change from the first nine games of the season, when he had just a single goal.
"My first few, first five or six or seven or eight games, I was kind of staying away from the front of the net for some reason, getting pushed off pucks," Hartnell said. "Spent some time on the bike upstairs in the gym and it's paying off. I'm kind of hard to move in front of the net and pucks have been hitting me, getting tips, and things are going in."
Hartnell's goal is just what coach John Stevens is hoping to see from the 6-foot-2, 210-pound left wing.
"That's his game, much like (former Flyer Mike) Knuble's game," Stevens said. "Hartsy gets the goals around the net. I thought that was a great goal, driving hard to the net, and it was a great pass."
Oshie tied the game at 5:43 of the third period. Emery came far out of the net to stop Roman Polak's slap shot from the right point, and the big rebound went to Oshie in the left circle. He corralled the rebound, spun and fired his second goal of the season into the net before Emery could recover.
It was about the only mistake the Philadelphia netminder made. Having played the night before in Buffalo, with the flu making its way around the locker room and with a short bench due to injuries to defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and forward James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers needed a big night from their goaltender.
"It's very important," Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said. "Especially the way he's played, he's keeping us in games and making the saves we need him to make."
Tollefsen suffered a mild concussion when he fell into the boards in the third period and Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren said he could be "out for a little while." Van Riemsdyk suffered a severe cut on his left pinkie finger, and Holmgren said the tip of the finger could be broken -- "I'd say he's day to day," he said of the League's leading rookie scorer.
Both teams had opportunities late in regulation.
The Flyers nearly went ahead on a power play midway through the third. Mason stopped Jeff Carter's rebound attempt from in front, but as the rebound lay loose in the crease, Hartnell took a poke at it and appeared to push the puck over the goal line. The referees ruled no goal, however, and there was no replay.
In the final minute of regulation, Paul Kariya was denied on a wraparound at the right post, and Emery stopped Jay McClement's rebound shot from the high slot.
In the shootout, Giroux, the Flyers' second shooter, deked Mason and roofed a backhand, but Boyes came back on the next shot to beat Emery with a wrister.
In the fourth round, Stevens turned to Pyorala, and he beat Mason high over his glove for the game-deciding goal. It's the first time Pyorala has scored in an NHL game, although it doesn't count as his first NHL score.
"The guys were kidding him he could have had a hat trick (Friday against Buffalo), he had so many chances," Stevens said. "We've been doing some breakaway challenges, we keep an eye on guys. He was pretty good in practice. … Look down the bench, no (Simon) Gagne, no (Danny) Briere, James wasn't on the bench. We went with him and to his credit he came through."
Pyorala, who had 21 goals for Timra in the Swedish Elite League last season, said he was OK with the goal-that-wasn't-really-a-goal.
"I hope it doesn't take that long to get the next one," he said.
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