Wild, Flyers Win With Late Comebacks
Friday, November 17th 2006, 5:38 am
By: News On 6
Back in the days of the NHL trap, a Jacques Lemaire-coached team might've needed a few weeks to muster seven goals. Now it can be done in one free-flowing night of comeback hockey.
The Nashville Predators built a three-goal lead against Lemaire's Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, before the visitors forced a shootout and escaped with a 7-6 win.
Brian Rolston finally netted the winner in the tiebreaker for the Wild, who trailed until less than 9 minutes remained.
"I was telling the guys to keep plugging,'' Lemaire said. "We were doing fine. We were just having a little tough luck. Coming back like this is great for our team. It shows we don't let up.''
The Philadelphia Flyers are trying to take a page out of that book. But the "Broad Street Bullies'' have to come back from more than just one or two rough periods. They are trying to escape a slide that dropped them to the bottom of the NHL standings.
A trip out West might be doing the trick. The Flyers completed a two-game Southern California sweep Thursday with a 4-3 victory at Los Angeles. They knocked off Anaheim a night earlier.
R.J. Umberger scored the tying and go-ahead goals 2 1/2 minutes apart against the Kings, capping a three-goal rally in the third period and lifting the Flyers.
"The whole key is that you keep playing, stick with it, get pucks deep and don't give up hope,'' said interim coach John Stevens, 4-6-1 since replacing Ken Hitchcock on Oct. 22. "I thought our guys showed a lot of resolve, and it was a huge win for us.''
In other NHL games, it was Boston 2, Toronto 1 in overtime; Florida 5, Montreal 1; Edmonton 6, St. Louis 2; and Phoenix 3, Chicago 2 in a shootout.
Trailing 6-3, the Wild refused to give in to the Predators in a game that was a shootout from start to finish. Each team recorded 45 shots on goal.
The Wild got a goal back in the final minute of the second period when Stephane Veilleux scored his second of the season. Pavol Demitra got the Wild within a goal 5:26 into the third, and Brent Burns tied it with a one-timer from the slot at 11:39.
"They just kept coming at us,'' said Chris Mason, who made 39 saves in a losing cause. "They just don't quit. I think I could have been a bit better, and I think we could have been a bit better in the defensive zone. If you give them an opportunity they are pretty deadly.''
Maybe the Flyers have a little bit of that quality in them, too.
Alexander Frolov gave the Kings a 3-1 lead with 10:36 to play, scoring his second of the game at the end of a 2-on-1 break with Craig Conroy. But the Flyers capitalized on two giveaways in the Kings' end to pull even.
Mike Knuble knocked the puck off defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky's stick and it bounced right to Simon Gagne, who beat Dan Cloutier from close range with 6:47 remaining. Just 40 seconds later, Umberger stole the puck from Dustin Brown at the top of the left circle, whirled around and beat Cloutier.
The Flyers completed the comeback when Mike Richards' centering pass caromed off the left skate of Kings defenseman Mattias Norstrom and right to Umberger, who swept his sixth goal past Cloutier with 3:37 left.
Geoff Sanderson extended his goal streak to three games and assisted on the winner, helping the Flyers win consecutive games for the first time this season after six straight losses. Richards had three assists.
Philadelphia has won back-to-back games on the same road trip for the first time since January.
"We're extremely happy,'' Knuble said. "We've been a little bit fragile at times this year, as far as getting behind and feeling like we're out of it. But tonight we stuck with it. It was a fun game to play in.''
Panthers 5, Canadiens 1
Olli Jokinen scored three goals for his second career hat trick and host Florida broke a four-game losing streak.
The Panthers hadn't won since a 2-1 victory over Toronto on Nov. 2. They dropped 11 of 14 overall.
Chris Gratton and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for Florida, which had lost four of five at home since starting the season 4-0 there.
Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Bruins 2, Maple Leafs 1, OT
Patrice Bergeron scored 34 seconds into overtime to lift host Boston to its third straight victory.
Phil Kessel gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal in the first period. Bryan McCabe tied it for Toronto with 6:42 remaining in regulation.
Oilers 6, Blues 2
At Edmonton, Alberta, Marc-Andre Bergeron scored his first goal of the season and Ales Hemsky tied a career high with three assists as the Oilers started a seven-game homestand with a win.
Ryan Smyth had two goals, and Marty Reasoner, Fernando Pisani and Joffrey Lupul also scored for Edmonton. Keith Tkachuk and Ryan Johnson scored for St. Louis.
Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2, SO
Yanic Perrault and Ladislav Nagy scored in the shootout and Curtis Joseph stopped two of three shots in the tiebreaker for host Phoenix.
Mike Zigomanis tied it midway through the third period and Perrault added his third goal in two games for the Coyotes, who won consecutive games for the first time this season.
Karl Stewart and Martin Lapointe scored 92 seconds apart midway through the first period for Chicago, 2-0-2 in its last four games.