Simmonds, B. Schenn spark Flyers in win over Jets

Simmonds, B. Schenn spark Flyers in win over Jets

February 23, 2013, 5:15 pm
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They needed a win desperately. They needed a lift from someone. They needed some power-play goals.
 
All three wishes came true for the Flyers during Saturday’s matinee 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Wells Fargo Center.
 
Scott Hartnell made an unexpected early return to the lineup after missing 16 games with a foot injury. He gave them an obvious lift, gutting out 14:54 ice time on a bad foot.
 
The Flyers also got power plays over the final two periods, one from Brayden Schenn, who had a two-goal game.
 
“It’s always nice to contribute, I got a lucky pass from Jake [Voracek] on the first one,” Schenn said.
 
It was their first win this season when trailing after two periods (1-7-0).
 
“We haven’t been able to thrive in situations like this, whether up or down 3-2,” Schenn said. “We had to find a way to win hockey games and we did. It was a huge two points.”
 
Schenn’s second goal at 6:18 of the third period on the power play made it 3-3. He took a feed from Voracek and blasted one down the slot past Ondrej Pavelec.
 
“I knew that Schenn was going to somewhere around there, so to be honest with you, it was a hope pass and I hit him right on the tape,” Voracek said.
 
Voracek had three, big assists, tying the Islanders' John Tavares, Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg and Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis for fifth place in the NHL scoring with 22 points.
 
Minutes later, Schenn assisted on Wayne Simmonds’ go-ahead, power-play goal. Simmonds also picked up his second Gordie Howe hat trick in three games.
 
“I was just trying to help the team any way I could and we needed some energy there,” he said of his first period fight with Chris Thorburn.
 
And his game-winner?
 
“I didn’t have to do much – Jake and Schenner made a great play there,” Simmonds replied. “It was an empty net and I put it in.”
 
Peter Laviolette’s club finished strong after yet another alarmingly poor start.
 
As usual, the Flyers were no-shows when the puck dropped. That lasted almost nine minutes as the Jets were all over Ilya Bryzgalov.
 
“This was huge, big,” Bryzgalov said of the game. “We had another slow start, sort of … After we picked up the pace, for the rest of the game, we played pretty good hockey.”
 
Winnipeg had a 12-1 shot advantage through almost nine minutes and then the Flyers got strong shift from Danny Briere, Tye McGinn and Schenn with three shots.
 
Hartnell had a couple of chances, but his timing was understandably off when passes came to him.
 
“I did feel a little rusty; I think the timing will come,” he said. “I told G and Jake, the way they’ve been playing, I just wanted to get them the puck and head to the front of net where I make a living.
 
“I had some chances, especially, those first couple shifts, Jake made great passes. If I had been playing all the game, that goes in the net. I was just happy to get through the game.”
 
Evander Kane was dazzling early on, giving the Jets a 1-0 lead at 4:18. Every time he was on the ice, he seemed in position to do damage.
 
On his goal, Nik Antropov faked Bryzgalov into thinking he was going for a wraparound and instead made a blind pass to Kane at the right post for an easy stuffer.
 
The only way to get Kane off the ice was having Luke Schenn drop the gloves with him late in the period.
 
That came immediately after brother Brayden tied it, rebounding a Briere shot in the slot at 15:18.
 
The second half of the period saw the Flyers pin the Jets into their own end without a Winnipeg shot as the Flyers turned that 12-1 disadvantage into a 17-12 advantage by period’s end.
 
“What changed?” Simmonds asked. “Our urgency. We weren’t playing well. We needed to get our legs and our minds going.”
 
Laviolette thought Simmonds’ fight turned everything around for his club.
 
“That [fight] brought some pop to game,” Laviolette said. “The first couple shifts were bad, up and down the ice, two-way hockey. And then there’s probably 4-5 shifts they got it behind us.
 
“They can skate, they’re big and were able to get going on the cycle find some lanes, find their defensemen and high forward, and created offensive opportunities off it.
 
“After the fight, it seemed to quiet down and gave us a little bit of a lift and we were able to do to them exactly what they did to us in the first eight minutes.”
 
Bryzgalov, who made 35 saves, gave up a terrible goal at 2:34 of the second period with both teams skating 4-on-4.
 
It began with Blake Wheeler stealing the puck at the blue line from Brayden Schenn as he attempted to rush up the ice, then feeding Olli Jokinen, who skated to the right circle, spun around and fired between Bryzgalov’s five-hole for a 2-1 lead.
 
“You know, he caught me on the movement,” Bryzgalov said. “I just stopped and in that time he took the shot. I was not set yet for the shot because I followed him and I didn’t stop fast enough.”
 
Eight minutes later, the Jets made it 3-1 lead on Alexander Burmistrov’s tip-in goal off a rolling shot from Grant Clitsome.
 
Yet the Flyers got lucky late with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:58. Claude Giroux ripped a pass from Kimmo Timonen high between the circles to make it a one-goal game.
 
The Flyers' captain said what woke the team up was the early 12-1 shot disadvantage.
 
“The guys got a little pissed off,” Giroux said.  “We were just tired of it, getting dominated at home and that’s not how we want to play at home.
 
“We want to play hard, we want to outwork the other team and I think the four lines were rolling, everybody was having fun.  Everyone was winning battles.
 
“Like I said in the third period when you’re trailing 3-2 and come back and win it’s also a good feeling.”

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