The Peter Forsberg-less Philadelphia Flyers were searching for a goal from anyone in any way.
Then, it happened. A puck deflected off the stick of an opponent and found its way into the New York Rangers' net, starting a riveting comeback that turned a sure-fire loss into a 3-2 overtime victory last night in New York.
''I think luck was on our side," said Flyers forward Petr Nedved, who assisted on Joni Pitkanen's second goal of the game at 1:28 of overtime. ''That's the way it is sometimes if you work hard for 60 minutes and overtime."
Philadelphia tied it on goals by Pitkanen and Mike Richards in the final 9:42 of regulation to force overtime. That's when the Flyers defenseman, playing for only the third time in 27 games because of an abdominal injury, struck again.
Pitkanen skated into the left circle and ripped a shot over Henrik Lundqvist's glove to snap Philadelphia's two-game losing streak and hand the Rangers their second loss in six games.
''It's always good when you get those goals from guys like that, so we'll take those 2 points and get out of here," Nedved said.
Forsberg is out because of a groin injury, and Philadelphia's lead that was once 9 points was nearly gone. The Flyers went 8-2-1 on their 11-game trip, the longest in team history, but were 2-3-2 since.
The Rangers blew a chance to cut Philadelphia's lead in the Atlantic Division to 1 point, and instead fell 4 points behind.
New York took a 2-0 lead on goals by Jaromir Jagr and Martin Rucinsky.
Maple Leafs 4, Panthers 2 -- Darcy Tucker and Jeff O'Neill scored on two-man advantages in the third period to help visiting Toronto snap an eight-game losing streak.
Kyle Wellwood also had a power-play goal for Toronto in its first victory since Jan. 7, against Edmonton. The eight-game losing streak was two short of the team record.
Stars 3, Sharks 2 -- Jason Arnott scored with 35 seconds left in overtime to give host Dallas its fifth straight victory. The Stars, who won their previous three games in shootouts, set a club record with their fourth straight overtime. Dallas is 11-3 in its past 14 games.
Arnott set up in front of the net and shoveled a rebound past Evgeni Nabokov after the Sharks goalie blocked Brenden Morrow's shot.
Mighty Ducks 4, Kings 3 -- Teemu Selanne scored two goals to reach 1,000 career points, and Scott Niedermayer's goal 1:48 into overtime gave host Anaheim the victory. Selanne, 35, became the 70th player in NHL history to reach the plateau.
Playing his 928th NHL game, Selanne scored his 476th goal at 8:33 of the third period to put Anaheim up, 3-2.
Red Wings 5, Wild 4 -- Defenseman Andreas Lilja scored his first goal in 71 games to help Detroit improve to 7-1-1 in its past nine road games. Lilja beat Minnesota goalie Dwayne Roloson with a slap shot midway through the third period to give Detroit a 5-3 lead.
Blues 3, Flames 2 -- Rookie Lee Stempniak, called up from the minor leagues earlier in the day, scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give host St. Louis the victory.