Kris Versteeg picked up his first point as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers as the East leaders squeaked by the Florida Panthers with a 4-2 win. It was Cory Stillman's 1,000th NHL game, but rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky bested him at least once on a pretty deflection that fooled the Flyers defense.
Andreas Nodl, James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards scored for Philadelphia, which is kind of ironic because they were broken up as a line partly due to Versteeg's addition and partly because they weren't putting points on the board. The trip gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead after two dominant periods, but on the second game of a back-to-back, it looked like their legs stopped working a bit.
Cue the final period, when goals by Rostislav Olesz (!) and David Booth (!!) provided a timely return to legitimate competition for a spell until Danny Briere capped the night with an empty-netter at the 19:22 mark. This was the classic fall-behind-early, fall-short-late comeback, with a twist: forward Marty Reasoner may well have launched his club's scoring with a mad scramble in Philadelphia's goalmouth.
Sergei Bobrovsky initially appeared to have foiled Reasoner's jam into the net, resulting in a no-goal call by on-ice officials. Off to the War Room we went, where the play was ultimately issued inconclusive, but a righthand overhead replay clearly showed "Bob" scooping the puck out of his net - and cleanly across the goal line - with his right leg. Whatever.
Not enough. Danny Briere's empty netter sealed the deal late in the third.
Elsewhere in the NHL...
Maple Leafs 2, Sabres 1: Dude, Joey Crabb.
Blackhawks 3, Wild 1: Mike Haviland's head coaching debut in the NHL didn't come the way he wanted it to come, with head coach Joel Quenneville in the hospital, but both guys will certainly be happy with the result. Chicago still trails Minnesota in the West by one point, but when you're on the outside looking in this late in the season, it all matters. The 'Hawks got a much-needed win Wednesday night.
Penguins 3, Avalanche 2: For all the chatter about the injury woes of the Pittsburgh Penguins and all the chatter of their demise, they remain only five points behind the first-place, rival Flyers. Then again, Colorado's not exactly the most impressive team in the NHL these days.
Flames 4, Stars 2: Calgary won again. Dallas lost again. The teams are now tied. In December, the Flames were in 14th and the Stars were in 2nd. Oh, Western Conference.