COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets looked at their tie with the
Philadelphia Flyers as a decisive victory.
"It was a really good tie," Columbus coach and general manager Doug
MacLean said. "Some ties are not good. This was a good tie against a pretty
good hockey team."
Sami Kapanen, who lost several teeth earlier in the game, scored with 1:08
left in regulation to lift the Flyers into a 1-1 tie with the Blue Jackets on
Columbus goaltender Fred Brathwaite was brilliant all night while stopping
40 shots. Kapanen's goal came after the Flyers had continually peppered him
with shots for a full minute.
"I got a chance to get in there and we got a point," Brathwaite said.
"But we should have had two."
Brathwaite, spelling No. 1 goalie Marc Denis, was at his best in the
overtime, stopping eight shots with the Flyers applying heavy pressure.
Philadelphia, which has the NHL's best record, had a man advantage for most of
the extra session.
"He's a big pinch-hitter, one of the best in the business," MacLean said
of Brathwaite, who has also played for Edmonton, Calgary and St. Louis in nine
"He's been waiting patiently for his chance and he came in and got us a
good point," MacLean said.
Brathwaite twice stopped Eric Desjardins in the final minute of overtime and
also had late saves against Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte and Mark Recchi.
Kapanen's fifth goal came after he muscled the puck loose from Columbus
defenseman Darryl Sydor at the back boards. Kapanen grabbed the puck and jammed
it in on Brathwaite, who was pinned tight to the near post. The puck slipped in
through his leg pads.
"It was a pretty good shift. We worked hard down low," Kapanen said. "I
got a loose puck and took it to the net and just tried to bang it home. It
slowly trickled over the goal line."
In the second period, Kapanen had been hit by an errant stick from teammate
Donald Brashear. He lost his bottom two front teeth and shattered a tooth on
"It felt like I had a mouthful of sand," Kapanen said.
Jeff Hackett had 19 saves for the Flyers, who have lost just once in their
last 18 games (13-1-4-0).
Columbus opened the scoring at the 6:47 mark of the first when Nikolai
Zherdev dug the puck off the wall to David Vyborny who slid a cross-crease pass
to Manny Malhotra for a one-timer. It was Malhotra's third goal since being
picked up off waivers from Dallas on Nov. 21.
"Vyborny made an incredible play," Malhotra said. "He put a perfect pass
on my tape. He waited long enough to draw the goalie to him. I was at the back
door. It makes a big net for me to shoot at."
Columbus, which had never beaten the Flyers in five previous meetings, had
three prime scoring opportunities.
Rick Nash, on a five-game goals streak, had a clear breakaway a minute into
the overtime but was wide of the net with his shot. Both Zherdev and Trevor
Letowski hit the post with slap shots that would have given the Blue Jackets a
2-0 lead in the final minutes of regulation.
"This team has tremendous spirit," Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said.
"There's lots of teams with this much depth and this many skilled players, but
this team has a very unique spirit. Every game we play right now we get the
other team's `A' game. Everybody gives us 100 percent and we're still answering
the bell and getting points, especially on the road."