- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — Mike Knuble has been skating in the NHL for 11 years and won a Stanley Cup ring as a bit player for the 1998 Detroit Red Wings.

But Philadelphia’s 35-year-old right wing never scored a bigger goal than the one that beat Washington Capitals goalie Cristobal Huet at 6:40 of the second overtime last night, giving the Flyers a 4-3 victory in Game 4 and a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

“It’s by the far biggest thrill besides your first one in the league,” Knuble said. “It trumps any regular-season game, and to put your team up 3-1, it’s a huge thrill. We’ll look to close this out as soon as we can on Saturday.”

Knuble said he was concerned when the Flyers trailed going into the third period for the first time in the series and when they were outplayed by the Caps in the first overtime.

“In the first OT, we let them run and gun, but we settled down [in the second OT] and tried to recreate the energy from the beginning of the game,” Knuble said.

Murray wants job

That Terry Murray is happily working again for the Flyers, the organization that fired him less than a month after he coached them to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, for the first time in a decade is remarkable. Murray swallowed his pride and scouted for the Flyers the next season before becoming the coach of the Florida Panthers in 1998.

“Whenever I got fired, I wanted to stay in the game,” said the 57-year-old assistant, who coached the Caps from 1990 to 1994. “It happened at the draft, and every position was filled on every other team. You move on. Being an assistant to [former Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock] and now to John [Stevens] has been enjoyable. The teaching part is the fun part of the game. You want to be on the ice working with the players.”

Murray said he has learned new ways of coaching from Hitchcock and from the younger Stevens and would like a chance to apply those lessons in another top job. Murray’s career record is 360-288-89 with nine playoff appearances in 10 seasons.

“Ten years as a head coach in the heat lamp [of media scrutiny] every day was something I would never give up,” Murray said. “I welcomed this opportunity, but I want to be a head coach again. I still look at myself in my prime earning years.”

Eminger finds net

Washington’s Steve Eminger had skated in 213 NHL games before last night, scoring just six goals.

But 5:56 into the second period, the 24-year-old from Woodbridge, Ontario, ripped a drive from the top of the right circle past screened Flyers goalie Martin Biron to snap a 2-2 tie and give the visiting Capitals their first lead of the series since the end of Game 1.

Eminger’s goal was even less likely because he hadn’t scored since Jan. 16, 2007. He played in just 20 games this season and had been scratched in Games 2 and 3 of this series.

Eminger skated just 4:39 and seven shifts in the first period last night and left the Caps short-handed with an interference penalty, but early in the second period the Caps’ Alexander Semin charged the Philadelphia net. Brooks Laich picked up the loose puck and got it to Eminger. With Laich and Flyers defenseman Jason Smith crowding the crease, Eminger’s shot eluded Biron.

“Pretty much just trying to get it on net,” Eminger said. “I was off to the side and didn’t have much. In the playoffs, it seems like those kinds of shots — the ones right on net — are the ones that sometimes go in.”

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