Flyers beat Oilers in shootout, 4-3
Wayne Simmonds had his third straight two-goal game in the Flyers' 4-3 shootout win over the Oilers. (USA Today Images)
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Wayne Simmonds remembers how to beat Ilya Bryzgalov.
Simmonds scored two power-play goals to drag the Flyers back from the dead Saturday night at Rexall Place, sending the former Flyers goaltender sprawling and helping spark the Flyers to a 4-3 shootout win.
Michael Raffl had the shootout winner in his first shootout attempt.
With the victory, the Flyers snapped a five-game losing streak away from the Wells Fargo Center.
It was an exciting end to a game that didn’t start off well. The Flyers found themselves in a hole just 32 seconds in, after Braydon Coburn committed a turnover that allowed Taylor Hall more than enough time to line up a perfect shot on Steve Mason.
By the 4:02 mark of the first period, the Flyers were down 2-0 thanks to some fancy handiwork from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Mason had let in two goals on just four shots. Though the Oilers had played on the road just 24 hours earlier, it was the Flyers who looked like the slow, tired team.
That changed in the second period. Simmonds woke up.
The Flyers’ forward scored first when Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference took a penalty for hooking. He added to it moments later when winger David Perron was called for elbowing.
But it was Perron who gave the Oilers a 3-2 third-period lead, capitalizing during a penalty to Kimmo Timonen. In a give-and-take of sorts, Timonen’s shot from the point during a Flyers 5-on-3 advantage set up the goal by Scott Hartnell that sent the game to overtime.
With the win, the Flyers reclaimed third place in Metropolitan Division (they fell to fourth briefly Saturday night).
First periods have, for most of this season, been a bright spot for the Flyers.
Not so much in Edmonton. In fact, Saturday was the first time all season the Flyers gave up more than one goal in the first period. Heading into the game, they'd outscored opponents 28-18 in the opening stanza.
The Flyers hadn't won at Rexall Place since 2001. They were 0-3-1 heading into Saturday's game.
In their own way
After their rough start, the Flyers started to generate some chances as the first period went on (especially one particular shift by a makeshift line of Steve Downie, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek), but slowed themselves down -- fast -- by taking a few unnecessary late penalties.
Zac Rinaldo (charging) and Mark Streit (crosschecking) incurred penalties that could have easily been avoided. The same goes for the end of the game -- and Edmonton's go-ahead goal scored during Kimmo Timonen's holding penalty.
The Flyers hit the ice with considerably more energy to start the second period. After a series of plays during which they hit anything but the net, Simmonds finally bested Ilya Bryzgalov, just 26 seconds into their first power play of the evening.
That goal triggered an awakening for the Flyers, who completely took the game over -- they finished with a 38-16 lead in shots.
The streaks continue
Jakub Voracek’s point streak lives on. With two assists Saturday night, Voracek now has points in nine consecutive games -- a new career high.
Same goes for Claude Giroux. The Flyers’ captain now has points in eight straight games, also a career high.
That other streak, too
Simmonds scored two goals Dec. 21 in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. He followed up that effort with a pair of goals Dec. 23 against the Minnesota Wild. He made it three games in a row with two goals in Edmonton. That’s a feat that’s only happened three other times in Flyers history.
The last player to score at least two in three consecutive games was Reggie Leach in 1981. Leach also did it in 1976, and Ross Lonsberry did it in 1976, too.
Simmonds now has as five-game point streak, during which he’s registered seven points.
Downie and in
After missing two games with an upper-body injury, Downie returned to the Flyers’ lineup against the Oilers.
Playing primarily on the fourth line with Adam Hall and Zac Rinaldo -- coach Craig Berube didn’t want to tinker with the top three lines’ current chemistry -- Downie played 9:45 Saturday.
The Flyers head to Vancouver to battle the Canucks (22-11-6) on Monday night at 10 p.m.