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Return Flight: Knuble scores all the goals

The only hat trick of his career came against the Anaheim Ducks

NHLI via Getty Images

Throughout the season, we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane whenever the Flyers open their season series against an opponent. We’ll be remembering a game, goal, or highlight Philly created while playing against that particular team. It won’t always be the most notable memory the Orange and Black have against that team, but it’ll be something that Flyers’ fans will want to remember.

His name might get lost in the shuffle when remembering the fun Philadelphia Flyers’ teams of the late 2000’s, but Mike Knuble was a pretty important player. Not only was he a member of the highly productive Deuces Wild line with Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne in his first season, Knuble has one of the Orange and Black’s three multi-overtime goals in postseason history thanks to his double-overtime goal against the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

He was also one of the highest goal-scoring forwards the Flyers had from 2005 to 2009, as his 114 goals in that time span is second to only Gagne and his 129 tallies.

After he deposited just 50 goals in his first seven seasons in the league, Knuble produced eight straight seasons of 21 goals or more. Four of those eight seasons came with the Philadelphia Flyers, as he did it twice with the Boston Bruins before his tenure with Philly and twice with the Capitals after his time with Philly. Knuble’s 118 goals in 338 games for the Flyers, and 278 goals in 1,068 games overall, resulted in 33 multi-goal games. Only one of those 33 multi-goal games resulted in a hat trick.

The Flyers haven’t had much success against the Anaheim Ducks recently. With only one win in their last ten meetings, Philly has only won three of their last 15 games against Anaheim dating back to January 2, 2009. The last time the Orange and Black beat the Ducks in regulation was on February 2, 2008, which was a 3-0 decision at the Wachovia Center.

After a goalless first period, Knuble scored the game-winning tally 5:46 into the middle frame. Derian Hatcher carried the puck from the point to the slot and let go of a shot that created a rebound. Both Hatcher and Knuble attempted to muscle the puck past Ducks’ netminder Jonas Hiller, but it was Knuble who had the lost touch to give the Flyers a one-goal lead.

A few minutes after Knuble’s first, a pair of enforcers engaged in the first of their two career fights at the NHL level. Riley Cote and George Parros dropped the gloves following a faceoff at the halfway point of the second period. It didn’t go to well for Cote.

The two fought again in 2009, and Cote performed a lot better the second time around.

Before the close of the second period, the Flyers needed only five seconds of a power play that came thanks to a Francois Beauchemin slashing minor. Danny Briere won the faceoff in Anaheim’s zone after the Beauchemin call back to Mike Richards, who let go of a slap shot that Knuble redirected past Hiller to give the hosts a two-goal lead to start the third period.

After he scored a pair of goals in quintessential Knuble fashion (redirecting shots or putting home rebounds within a foot of the blue paint), the forward completed his hat trick with a goal on the rush. A chop at the puck from R.J. Umberger in the defensive zone sprung a 2-on-1 for Philly led by Knuble and Braydon Coburn against Beauchemin. With a slap shot above the right circle, Knuble beat Hiller far side for his third goal of the game with only 14:03 left in regulation.

It was the Flyers’ seventh hat trick of the 2007-08 regular season. Knuble’s hat trick is also the only time in franchise history that a Flyer has scored three goals or more in a goal and was the only player to score in that game. He went on to have 29 goals in 2007-08, which was tied for the third-most goals he’d ever score in a single season behind his 34-goal campaign in 2005-06 and 30-goal campaign in 2002-03 with the Boston Bruins. Knuble ended up scoring the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals, who he joined in the summer of 2009.

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