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Flyers squeak out win against Hawks in subpar effort

Flyers squeak out win against Hawks in subpar effort
Teams that consider themselves worthy of contending for the Stanley Cup do what Philadelphia did Wednesday night at the United Center.

The Flyers didn't play up to their high standards - despite badly outshooting the Blackhawks - yet they still found a way to post a 5-2 victory.

The Flyers scored three times in the third period - the last into an empty net - to break open a tie game.

Mike Knuble's goal at the 11 minute 27 second mark of the third gave the Flyers the lead and Brad Richards beat Craig Anderson to the short-side despite being blanketed by Jim Vandermeer - who's turnover started the play - two minutes later.

The Flyers spent so much time in the Hawks zone during the first period Wednesday that it appeared Philadelphia was on a 20-minute power play.

In more than 18 minutes of play, the Hawks managed a total of one shot on goal. They at least made the most of it with Radim Vrbata scoring his second goal in as many nights.

His goal in the first period, which tied the game 1-1, was a combination of skill and patience. After picking off a pass from Ben Eager near the Hawk blueline, Vrbata played the puck off the boards to himself to elude a Flyer defender and give himself a breakaway. After goalie Antero Niittymaki committed, Vrbata skated around the net and slid it into the open side.

The Flyers regained the lead midway through the first when R.J. Umberger's shot deflected off Andy Hilbert's stick and over Anderson to make it 2-1.

Hilbert deflected another shot five minutes into the second period, this time into the Flyers net.

He redirected Todd Simpson's shot past Niittymaki to make it 2-2 and to give the Hawks a pair of goals on just four shots on goal.

Anderson was back in the Hawks net after getting the night off Tuesday in Washington. Since Nikolai Khabibulin went down with a groin injury December 28, Anderson has allowed at least three goals in each of his first five starts. Including the 20 minutes he relieved Khabibulin Dec. 28, Anderson had a goals-against average of 3.60 with an .840 save percentage before Wednesday.

Defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who already has missed 12 games with groin injuries, appeared to be injured again. After taking eight shifts and playing 6:38 in the first period, Aucoin had just one shift in the second period that lasted six seconds and he wasn't on the bench in the third.

In other NHL action: Colorado 2, Montreal 1; Atlanta 4, Nashville 3, SO; Columbus 6, Pittsburgh 1.


Updated : 2020-12-04 12:51 GMT+08:00