Giroux Nets Winner In Overtime As Flyers Complete Huge Comeback

Trailing 3-0 midway through the second period, the Flyers stormed back to beat the Ducks 4-3 in overtime out in Anaheim tonight.

Claude Giroux scored the game-winner and had an assist in the second period, while Jaromir Jagr had two goals and an assist in his return to the lineup after missing more than a week.

Kimmo Timonen assisted on three scores and Danny Briere added two helpers as the Flyers enjoyed their first road win against a Western Conference team on the season.

Andrew Cogliano and Teemu Selanne picked up early goals for the Ducks. Jonas Hiller held down the fort for the most part, making 43 saves in the loss, while Saku Koivu registered two assists.

It only took 1:12 for Bruce Boudreau’s new club to go on the penalty kill, as Matt Beleskey took an unruly roughing minor near the benches as both teams were changing players.

The Flyers’ power play featured slick moves from Jagr and a huge one-timer from Timonen at the top of the circles, but it didn’t produce a 1-0 lead.

Just over three minutes after the Flyers’ power play, the Ducks were awarded their first power play of the game.

As Timonen sat in the sin bin for holding, the Flyers actually created the first scoring chance on the Ducks’ advantage. Max Talbot helped moved the puck into Anaheim’s defensive zone and curled towards the slot before gliding the puck back to Andrej Meszaros. Walking into the pass at the point, Meszaros let go of a bomb that Hiller managed to glove down to keep the game tied.

Moments after the key save, the Ducks struck on the man advantage to gain an early 1-0 lead.

Recognizing the defense out of position, Koivu quickly rushed a pass from his own blue line to the Flyers’ blue line. Skating into the zone with Devante Smith-Pelly, Cogliano pushed the puck ahead of himself to gain ground on the defenders. As Cogliano pushed the puck pretty far ahead of himself, Ilya Bryzgalov attempted to poke check the puck out of the crease. While Bryzgalov was in the midst of trying to poke the puck, Cogliano tapped the puck through a small space in between the netminder’s pads to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead 8:12 into the game.

The Ducks needed only 2:22 to find their second goal of the game.

Beleskey redeemed himself for his penalty earlier in the period by guarding the puck from a Flyers’ defender while holding his stick with one hand and gliding behind Philly’s net. Stopping on a dime behind the net, Beleskey moved the puck from the right side of the net back to Koivu, who was on the goal line only feet from the left post. Moving the puck quickly, Koivu tapped the puck to the top right part of the crease, where Selanne slammed home the shot for his ninth goal of the season.

One could see the negativity looming in Bryzgalov after the second Ducks’ goal, but he didn’t let his body language in between plays alter his shot-blocking ability as he provided a gem of a save to keep the Ducks’ lead at two.

With the Ducks waltzing in on a 2-on-1, Selanne let go of a shot within his wheelhouse that was aimed for the top right corner of Philly’s net. Moving side-to-side quickly, Bryzgalov found a way to glove the puck down in a sprawling effort.

The scoring chances in the first period dwindled after Selanne’s blast, but that didn’t mean the action stopped.

After a huge open-ice hit by Francois Beauchemin on Zac Rinaldo, Beleskey decided to board a vulnerable Sean Couturier in the corner to Hiller’s left. This incident resulted in a skirmish as all skaters on the ice met in the corner to exchange pushing, shoving, and verbal jabs. As for penalties, Beleskey received two minutes for boarding and roughing, while both Meszaros and Harry Zolnierczyk received roughing minors.

The Ducks looked to be on yet another odd-man rush to end the first period, but just as Koivu was about to rip a shot from the slot with only three seconds left the refs blew the play dead to assess him with an interference minor.

At the end of the first period, the Flyers trailed by a pair of goals despite out shooting Anaheim 12-8.

Displaying grit, hustle, and determination on the remaining 1:57 of their power play to start the second period, the Flyers couldn’t score on their third man advantage of the night. Jagr just missed the net on a shot from the slot and Philly provided several deflection attempts, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Shortly after the Flyers’ power play, the Ducks were denied on several shots by Bryzgalov before a lucky bounce extended the Ducks’ lead 6:31 into the second period.

Maxime Macenauer skated into the Flyers’ defensive zone before passing to Ben Maxwell, who was between the boards and the faceoff circle to Bryzgalov’s right. Releasing a shot just inside the faceoff circle, Maxwell forced Bryzgalov to make a save that created a rebound which bounced into the slot. As Andrew Gordon tried stopping in the slot, the puck hit his skate and into the Flyers’ net for his first goal since December 21.

Facing a three-goal deficit, the Flyers started pushing harder to find a way to beat Hiller. Several chances, which included an amazing pass from Zolnierczyk that just missed connecting in Hiller’s crease and a 2-on-1 led by Wayne Simmonds that failed to produce a shot on net, came close to no avail.

With less than six minutes left in the second period, Beauchemin cross-checked Scott Hartnell in the lower back putting the Flyers’ forward head first into the boards as well as give Philly a power-play opportunity.

After Hartnell got up and exchanged words with Beauchemin, the Flyers were able to score their first goal on the night with the man advantage.

Releasing a chance from the point, Timonen produced a shot that was able to hit off Jagr’s right knee and past Hiller to cut the Flyers’ deficit to two goals with 4:42 left in the second. The power-play goal was Jagr’s seventh on the season and his first since November 5 in that blowout of Columbus.

Minutes after the goal, Koivu raised his stick while defending himself from a Zolnierczyk body check in the neutral zone to give the Flyers another power play just before the second period ended.

An intense power-play surge ensued for the Flyers culminating with a loose puck in the Ducks’ crease for several seconds before Jagr took a hooking call with only 1:11 left in the middle stanza to end Philly’s offensive threat.

The remaining time in the second period went scoreless as the Ducks enjoyed the tail end of a power play to open the third period.

Killing off the little time left in the Ducks’ power play to open the period, the Flyers had another power play just before the three-minute mark of the third period as Ryan Getzlaf tripped Giroux before he entered the Flyers’ offensive zone.

About a minute into the power play, Smith-Pelly took a swing at the puck while it was in the air, but hit Hartnell in his follow-through. The refs nailed Smith-Pelly with a high-sticking minor, when, in all honesty, he shouldn’t have been called for it.

With two Ducks now in the sin bin, Jagr struck again for his second goal on the night to cut the lead to one goal with 15:14 remaining in regulation.

Standing at the point, Timonen threw the puck cross ice to Jagr, who was standing at the top of the faceoff circle to Hiller’s left. One-timing the shot, Jagr blasted the puck past Hiller’s blocker for his second goal of the night.

Although the Flyers still had immense offensive pressure on the remaining time left on the 5-on-4 power play following Jagr’s second goal on the night, Philly still couldn’t score.

After minutes and minutes of scoring chances, the Flyers finally tied the game late in regulation.

Skating in on the net with a perfectly good chance to shoot, Timonen showed patience in holding the puck until he was behind the Ducks’ net. Stopping behind the net, Timonen passed the puck to Jagr in close quarters before Jagr tapped the puck back to Timonen. Working behind the net, Timonen didn’t wait long before he found an open Hartnell to Hiller’s right. Putting home a shot top-shelf, Hartnell’s 10th goal of the season tied the game with 3:02 left.

Shortly after Hartnell’s tally, Jakub Voracek took a hooking minor to give the Ducks one more chance for a victory in regulation. As the Ducks cycled in the Flyers’ defensive zone until the end of the third period, Anaheim couldn’t score as the Flyers forced overtime.

Killing off the final seconds of Voracek’s minor in overtime, the Flyers received a huge gift from Getzlaf. After tripping Voracek in the offensive zone, Getzlaf angrily slammed his stick against the boards to receieve an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct putting the Flyers on the power play for four minutes with 4:19 left in overtime.

Cycling the puck relentlessly for over two minutes in the offensive zone, a crafty pass from Briere set up a rocket from Giroux for the game-winning goal at the 3:29 mark of overtime.

Holding on to the puck at the point, Briere faked a shot while moving to the top of the slot. After faking the shot, Briere slid the puck over to Giroux, who was ready and waiting in the faceoff circle to Hiller’s right. Beating Hiller before the goaltender could reach the right post, Giroux blasted home his 14th goal of the season for a two-point night.

The turning point in the game was Bryzgalov’s glove save on Selanne in the first period. The Ducks may have eventually extended their lead to three goals in the following period, but if Bryzgalov doesn’t make that save his team is down by three midway through the  first period. By making the save, Bryzgalov kept the Flyers’ deficit manageable while if he allowed that goal on Selanne’s shot the game could have easily gotten out-of-hand early.

Jagr may have missed a couple games, but it looked as though he didn’t miss a beat. It wasn’t just because he scored two goals on the night, it was because he looked strong on the puck and effortlessly moved through defenders as he created chances for himself and teammates.

Rinaldo, who is often labeled as being undisciplined, showed great restraint after being decked by Beauchemin in the first period. In a situation where the feisty Flyers’ forward could have easily taken a bad retaliatory penalty, Rinaldo accepted the play and moved away from the action. This was another action early in the game that kept the Flyers’ deficit at two goals rather than giving Anaheim a chance to increase their lead early.

The Flyers look to win back-to-back games on consecutive days as they travel to Phoenix tomorrow to take on the Coyotes in Bryzgalov’s homecoming.

Notes: This was the Flyers’ first win against the Ducks since their 5-4 overtime decision in Anaheim on January 2nd, 2009…The Flyers have won three of their last four games…The Flyers improved to 3-2-0 since Chris Pronger has been out of the lineup with his mystery knee virus which required surgery…Friday’s burst was Jagr’s first two-goal game since October 29 against the Hurricanes,  his third two-goal game on the season and the 116th of his illustrious career…Tonight was Timonen’s first multi-assist night since the Flyers’ 9-8 loss to the Jets on October 27 (4 assists)…In his return tonight, Brayden Schenn was minus-1 with two shots on net in 14:47 TOI…Gordon has two goals in the NHL, although one is with the Ducks and one was with the Caps, both were scored with Boudreau as his head coach.