Knuble nets pair, gives Flyers fifth straight win

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) — A six-game losing streak to begin the
season is a mere memory – as is a deflating skid to begin the
month of November. Make no mistake, Philadelphia has begun to
fly high.

Mike Knuble scored two goals and the Philadelphia Flyers
extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a
4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday.

Scottie Upshall and Jeff Carter also tallied and Simon Gagne had
two assists as the Flyers improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven

“We came out in the first period and we had a lot of chances,”
Carter said. “We’re just playing a simple game really and we
were able to get the puck in the zone. We let up in the second,
but we managed to come back in the third and get two points.”

Perhaps a bit tardy, Philadelphia has begun to remind many why
it made a 20-win improvement last season after finishing with a
miserable 22-48-12 record in 2006-07.

The Flyers began this campaign in unspectacular fashion,
dropping six straight – capped with a pair of losses to the San
Jose Sharks, who took advantage of a fizzling defense by
outscoring them, 12-10. A four-game win streak then rectified
their spirits, but an ensuing 1-3-1 skid had them searching for
answers once again.

During the Flyers’ current streak, though, they have outscored
opponents, 17-10, and overcame two goals by Dallas’ Mike Modano
in this contest.

“I didn’t think that we started the game very well,” Dallas
coach Dave Tippett said. “We had a lot of guys that had a
deer-in-the-headlights kind of look. Once we got our feet under
us and got moving a little bit, we engaged in the game. It is a
competitive game and if you don’t engage, you’re not going to be
very good.

“So we got that straightened around and we got ourselves back in
the game. But we did what we’ve done a lot times this year and
we shoot ourselves in the foot and the puck is in the net.”

Landon Wilson also netted his first goal of the season for the
Stars, who have dropped three in a row and six of their last
seven. They are also failed again to convert without captain
Brenden Morrow, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament
in his right knee last week and will likely miss the rest of the

“When you have so many players out, you look to for other people
to step up and show that they are NHL players,” Tippett said.
“We’re looking for those people to step up as well as the
veterans that are here. They have to carry an extra load … if
you want to be successful, that is what is going to have to

Knuble snapped a 3-3 tie with 5:08 left in the third period,
firing a wrister from the slot after receiving a pass from
captain Mike Richards.

“They dumped it in hard and it popped over their guys stick and
I just advanced it up the wall,” Knuble said. “Simon (Gagne)
had a great battle at their blue line. That was a big key to
getting the play going.”

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Philadelphia coach John Stevens praised the effort from Richards
on the decisive play.

“We got ourselves in a dogfight and we allowed them some
momentum,” Stevens said. “We are finding ways to win hockey
games right now. We get up, get tied, get up, get tied, and
then (Richards) goes down and makes a great play and (we) win
the game.”

With his team trailing, 2-1, Modano struck for the first time 2
1/2 minutes into the second by tapping in a rebound in front of
the net. Carter regained the Flyers’ lead just under 12 minutes
later with a wrist shot from the slot which beat Marty Turco.

Modano then evened the game again with 2:36 left in the session,
snapping a shot from the slot past Marty Biron, who finished
with 22 saves for Philadelphia.

“(Biron) is confident,” Stevens said. “I think that when your
goalie is confident and looks confident, it can exude confidence
in the entire team and that is what I am seeing right now.
After last year, Marty was looking to take it to another level
with his play.

“We did not get off to the start that we wanted as a team, but
we are being more consistent now and I think it starts with

Upshall opened the scoring 3:17 into the first, deflecting a
pass from Joffrey Lupul over Turco while sitting on the

Dallas has surrendered the first goal in 12 of 20 games and is
1-8-3 in those contests.

Wilson evened the game eight minutes later, but Knuble
recaptured Philadelphia’s lead with four minutes left in the
session after his deke in front of the net bounced off a Dallas
defenseman and fluttered into the open net.

“(Knuble) has really played well as of late,” Stevens said.
“Ever since we put him back with (Gagne), I think he looks
reborn. Those two have chemistry together. They were playing
well when Danny (Briere) was in the lineup and they have really
continued to play well with Mike Richards.”

Ultimately, Modano felt his struggling team let a good
opportunity slip away early.

“We didn’t deserve to be down one goal after the first, so it
was a horrible start,” Modano said. “Somehow, some way, we got
ourselves back in the game and we were right there. It is such
a fine line with the things that we end up doing that come back
to haunt us.

“They were pretty innocent plays at the time but they seen to
find a way into the net. It is such a desperation mode that you
feel like you want to do more. You want to try harder and you
end up digging yourself a bigger hole.”