NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Atlanta
(Saturday, March 18th)
Final Score: Philadelphia 4, Atlanta 2
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Mike Knuble scored a goal and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers downed the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-2, at Philips Arena.
R.J. Umberger, Jeff Carter and Nicholas Dimitrakos all tallied goals for Philadelphia, which was without star center Peter Forsberg, who was a late scratch because of a sprained right knee.
Joni Pitkanen picked up three assists and Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves for the Flyers, who bounced back into the win column after Friday's 6-3 loss in Tampa Bay.
"Our team feels really good about itself right now," said Philadelphia head coach Ken Hitchcock. "For any other team to lose their best player in pre-game warm-up, that's emotionally draining and these guys really responded."
Bobby Holik had a goal and an assist while Marian Hossa tallied the other goal for Atlanta, which saw a modest two-game winning streak come to an end. Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 27 shots in defeat.
With the game knotted at 1-1, Carter gave the Flyers the lead 5:19 into the middle session with his 17th goal of the season. The rookie forward intercepted an outlet pass in the neutral zone and darted into the Atlanta zone. From the top of the left circle, Carter unleashed a snap shot that sailed past Lehtonen and just under the crossbar on his glove side.
Umberger's 14th tally of the campaign provided Philadelphia with a two-goal cushion with 4:26 remaining in the second stanza. Knuble ripped a wrist shot from a bad angle in the right corner that Lehtonen stopped, however, the rebound kicked out to Umberger in the slot and he immediately fired the puck into the net.
"It was a great feeling," said Umberger. "As soon as I actually released it, I had a feeling it was going in. I knew right away. At that moment of the game, it was a big lift for our team."
Hossa got the Thrashers back into the game with 1:39 left in the second. On the power play, Hossa took a feed from Holik down low and slipped the puck through Niittymaki's five hole to make it a 3-2 game.
Just 5:48 into the final frame, Dimitrakos once again gave Philadelphia a two- goal lead with his sixth goal of the season. Pitkanen pushed the puck up to Dimitrakos with an outlet pass and the forward carried the disc into Atlanta's zone and cranked a slap shot from the right circle that beat Lehtonen high on his glove side.
Atlanta pulled Lehtonen with well over a minute left, but could not get the puck past Niittymaki, who made 12 saves in the final frame.
"We were not the best team," said Atlanta head coach Bob Hartley. "We did not start the way we wanted to. The Flyers deserved to win because they were the better team."
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal from Knuble with 9:33 remaining in the opening period. Pitkanen carried the puck up the left wing and into the zone, firing a centering pass to Knuble, who backhanded the disc just inside the right post for the goal.
Atlanta responded less than two minutes later as Holik deflected Niclas Havelid's shot from the right point past a screened Niittymaki for a 1-1 tie.
Philadelphia has won three of the four matchups with the Thrashers this season and five of the last six meetings overall...Pitkanen now has 25 assists on the season...The Flyers still trail the Atlantic Division leading NY Rangers by two points...Atlanta lost for only the third time in its last 11 games overall...Thrashers forward Serge Aubin left the game in the first period with a right knee injury and did not return...The Flyers went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Thrashers went 1-for-9 with the man advantage.
03/18 22:50:03 ET