Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Flyers bury Avalanche, pick up fifth straight win

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Simon Gagne and Mike Richards recorded a goal and two assists each as Philadelphia topped Colorado, 5-2, at the Wachovia Center.

Mike Knuble, Jeff Carter and Joffrey Lupul also tallied for the Flyers, who have won five games in a row. In addition, it was the franchise's first win over Colorado since a 2-1 overtime decision in Denver on December 27, 2002, as well as the first home victory against the Avs since a 5-4 overtime win on October 28, 1999.

Antero Niittymaki, in place of the flu-ridden Martin Biron, made 29 saves for the win and improved to 6-1-2 on the season.

Paul Stastny and David Jones scored for the Avalanche, who have dropped two of three. Peter Budaj allowed five goals on 24 shots in defeat.

Colorado got on the board 9:23 into the contest while on the power play. Stastny won a right-circle draw forward to the boards. Two players overskated the puck as it caromed back into the slot, and Stastny picked it up and tucked it home.

Knuble then tied the game on the man advantage with 8:23 to play in the first, redirecting a Richards feed from the top of the crease. Carter completed a 2- on-1 with Gagne for a short-handed goal with 1:48 remaining in the period.

Lupul's wrister from the right circle found its way through a screen for a 3-1 Flyers lead with 8:36 left in the second.

One minute, 18 seconds later, Richards was credited with his 13th goal of the season. He took a shot from 25 feet out that was deflected in front, bounced off the top of the boards, the top of the net and down Budaj's back before crossing the goal line.

Philly wasted a late 5-on-3 power play and saw Colorado climb within 4-2 on its following advantage as Jones redirected a T.J. Hensick shot out of midair with 1:21 left in the period.

Kimmo Timonen's power-play blast from the point was tipped home by Gagne 2:14 into the third and gave the Flyers a 5-2 edge, and the home team clamped down from there to post the victory.

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