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NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Columbus

(Tuesday, December 13th)

Final Score: Philadelphia 3, Columbus 1

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Robert Esche returned from his groin injury and stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced, as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated Columbus, 3-1, at Nationwide Arena.

Esche had not seen action since late November with the ailment but was often the best player on the ice, allowing just one goal despite facing eight power plays and two 5-on-3's.

Peter Forsberg, Jeff Carter and Sami Kapanen all scored for Philadelphia, which has won three of its last four games. Ben Eager and the newly-acquired Matt Ellison added assists.

Jan Hrdina scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two out of three. Goaltender Marc Denis made 28 saves in defeat.

Columbus struck first with a Hrdina power-play goal 5:42 into the game. Duvie Westcott held the puck above the right circle and then sent a centering feed in front for Hrdina, who redirected it past Esche.

The Flyers scored two unanswered goals, however, to claim the lead.

Forsberg got the Flyers on the board just 1:12 after Columbus lit the lamp. The standout forward created a turnover in the Blue Jackets zone, weaved in on goal and then released a backhander. That shot was saved by Denis, but Forsberg corralled the rebound and punched it into the back of the net.

Carter scored two minutes into the second frame to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead. Eager was stoned by Denis out in front after taking an Ellison feed, but Carter swooped in and put the rebound into the back of the net.

The Blue Jackets spent much of the remaining 18 minutes on the power play, and twice earned a two-man advantage. Esche, though, came up with several dazzling saves to turn away Columbus and keep Philadelphia out in front.

"I got fortunate; they just hit me," Esche said. "Some days they hit you, and some days they don't."

The Flyers stayed away from the penalty box in the third period and held the Blue Jackets to just three shots in the stanza.

Kapanen put in an empty netter with eight seconds remaining to cap the scoring.

"Even when things get a little hairy like they did in the second period, we gathered ourselves and did a great job," said Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock.

Game Notes

Only the Flyers and Ottawa Senators have yet to lose to the Blue Jackets...Philadelphia remains without Simon Gagne (groin), Eric Desjardins (shoulder), Joni Pitkanen (sports hernia) and Keith Primeau (concussion)...The Flyers, who are 6-3-2 on the road, will host Vancouver on Thursday...Columbus is 6-9-0 on home ice.

12/13 22:40:54 ET

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