PHILADELPHIA, Pa – The Philadelphia Flyers have made a habit of getting down early in hockey games this season. Starting with their exciting come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, the Flyers came from behind to win for only the second time this season with a 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The win propelled the Flyers into 8th place in the Eastern Conference, the first time all season the Flyers have been in a potential playoff position all season.
The bad news for the Flyers is that they have played in more games so far this season than any other team in the NHL so you can bet no one in the Flyers locker room are resting on their laurels. Twenty games are in the books in an abbreviated 48 games season. Plenty of hockey yes yet to be played this season but at least now the Flyers see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Injuries have crept up on the team since the start of the season but the team finally got some good news heading into the game when Scott Hartnell returned to the lineup despite published reports that he would still be out of the lineup for at least another week. He didn’t have a great game back with two penalties and was a -1 but his presence was felt on and off the ice.
Still, the Flyers had to overcome a terrible start to the game with Winnipeg having 12 of the games first 13 shots on goal, but without the usual timeout and tirade from Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette, the Flyers outshot the Jets 16-0 the rest of the first period. After the Jets got on the board thanks to Evander Kane’s goal at 4:48, the Flyers tucked up the puck from inside the crease to tie game at one.
The Flyers got off to another slow start in the second period with the Jets scoring twice to take a 3-1. They would get one of them back when a determined Claude Giroux blasting a shot from high in the slot on the power player past Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec to get the Flyers to within one at 14:24 to head into the third period down a goal.
In the third period it was all Flyers on the scoreboard despite being outshot 11-8. Jakub Voracek made a nice backhand pass into the slot from the right face off circle after getting the puck from Giroux after he lost the puck coming into the zone, but Brayden Schenn was alone in the slot and blasted a shot past Pavelec to tie the game at three.
Wayne Simmonds would give the Flyers the lead to stay when Schenn made a backhand pass of his own after making some nifty moves into the zone and saw Simmonds all alone to his left and Simmonds buried a shot home to give the Flyers the lead with Zac Rinaldo putting home the empty net goal to end the game.
The win game the Flyers a record of 9-10-1 with the chance to get to .500 with a win over Toronto on Monday. Philly would love to pay the Leafs back for a 5-2 at the hands of the Leafs. Former Flyers James Van Reimsdyk scored in that game adding insult to injury. Still, the Penguins game might have been the turning point in the Flyers season. Time will tell if that turns out to be the case.