It looks as if Mike Knuble is like a fine wine—he seems to be getting better with age.
Knuble netted two goals last night—his ninth and tenth—including the game winner at 5:08 in the third, as the Flyers beat the Stars 4-3 and continued their winning streak to five games.
The Flyers are 6-0-1 since November 11, when they snapped a three-game losing streak.
In another surprise last night, Jeff Carter scored another goal—a howitzer of a wrist shot in the second period. His 15th goal of the season now ties him for the NHL lead with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek.
The Stars, who are in last place in the Pacific Division, lost their third-straight game last night, despite two goals by future Hall of Famer Mike Modano.
“We are playing well,” Knuble said after the game. “We have to take a look at the big picture here. We are playing well as a group. If you do that, you will win games.”
Mike Richards found a streaking Knuble with 5:08 remaining in regulation to break up the tie score with a punch-in goal which Knuble thought he barely got piece of. Coach John Stevens has liked what he has seen out the 36-year-old winger:
“Mike has really played well as of late, 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.
“Mike keeps himself in good shape. He works hard at his game. He is out long after practice. He’s a real good pro, and he wants to continue being a good player.”
Joffrey Lupul intercepted a pass along the boards and fed Scottie Upshall with a great saucer pass that Scottie scored at 3:17 of the first to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. The Flyers are now 9-1-2 when they score first.
Upshall's line was due for a big game, so it was helpful for the Flyers that his line got the game started with the first goal.
“Our line needed a big game,” Upshall said. “We came out hitting. Lupes made a great play to keep the puck in. I was fortunate enough to come off a check in the corner with an open net. You’ll tap those in all day.”
The Flyers fly to Carolina to begin a home-and-home series with the Hurricanes tomorrow night at 7 pm, and then a matinee game on black Friday at 1pm.
Flyers Practice Notes
Both Randy Jones and Ryan Parent skated with the team today. Parent was limited to no contact and no shooting, but is looking at Dec. 26 for a hopeful date to return. Jones however felt very good about having his first practice with the team.
"I felt good, it was great to be out on the ice with my teammates. the only thing I couldn't do too well was back skate," Jones said after practice. "The whole goal right now is to be able to get the skating backwards issue resolved, and I should be good to go."
Jones also gave us a target date for his return. "
Right now, I'm looking at December 6. I think that is a logical date for us. I have to check with the doctors to make sure nothing is going to go wrong," Jones added.
Riley Cote's return date was pushed back from November 28 to now December 2. The rule is 10 games or 24 days. "Its tough. It is killing me watching the guys out there knowing that I can't help right now. The funny thing is that I felt ready to go right after I got put on the long-term injury list," Cote said.
Antero Niittymaki will be in net on Wednesday, with Marty Biron back between the pipes on Friday.