It took the Flyers 55 shots, a goal in the final minute of regulation and one more in the final minute before the dreaded shootout, but the Philadelphia Flyers finally beat the Winnipeg Jets with a 5-4 overtime win on Tuesday night at MTS Centre.
Jaromir Jagr potted his 16th goal of the season with 44 seconds left in overtime, as the Flyers beat the Jets in the clubs’ final meeting of 2011-2012.
On the game-winner, Danny Briere epitomized the game for Philly, as he stuck with the play to out work Johnny Oduya and regain control of the puck before he tossed it to Jagr at the bottom of the slot. The 40-year-old aimed a shot low blocker-side on Ondrej Pavelec and beat the goalie for his 16th regular season overtime goal in his career, which gave him the all-time NHL record.
He had previously shared the honor with Mats Sundin, Sergei Fedorov and Patrik Elias.
After another mediocre performance, Ilya Bryzgalov — who was mocked for simple saves and heard his name in sing-song chants from the Jets’ crowd all night long — made a crucial goal late in overtime that allowed Jagr to gain the extra point for Philly. He finished the night with 22 saves.
Although the win was exciting and entertaining, Philly will need to examine the penalty kill. The Flyers couldn’t kill any of the Jets’ three power-play chances in a game where Winnipeg scored four goals overall.
Andrew Ladd tallied twice and Tim Stapleton posted three assists, as Pavelec tied a career high in saves during one game with 50. He had previously attained the feat for Atlanta at Ottawa on October 31, 2009.
As for the game, the Flyers earned their first power play nine minutes after the opening faceoff. Alexander Burmistrov whacked Briere in the ear with his stick for a high-sticking minor.
Despite several scoring chances, the Flyers’ power-play unit couldn’t pot the game’s first goal. To make matters worse, the Jets capitalized on their first power play of the game just minutes later.
Although Jim Slater’s hit was late, Max Talbot earned the penalty with a cross-checking minor after the Flyers’ forward stood up and defended himself.
Dustin Byfuglien blasted home his ninth goal of the off a Stapleton pass that moved across the blue line. Big Buff’s rocket found its way through traffic and between Bryzgalov’s pads for a power-play goal and a 1-0 lead for the hosts 12:31 into the game.
The goal gave Winnipeg fans another chance to get in Bryz’s head before Claude Giroux finished a great offensive play for Philly to silence the arena.
Matt Carle attempted a pass to Scott Hartnell through traffic, but the play was broken up and resulted in the puck sitting feet outside the crease. Hartnell hustled to the loose puck and passed it across crease to Giroux. With Wayne Simmonds causing traffic in front, Pavelec was caught out of position, which led to an easy backhander for Giroux’s 23rd goal of the season.
“He’ll tell you he saw me back door,” Giroux said. “There’s no way he saw me.”
The Jets’ fans didn’t make too much noise over the next few minutes, as the Flyers’ took it to their team for a brief offensive surge to close out the opening period. The Orange and Black took charge late in the period to earn a 15-10 shot advantage, but had problems at the faceoff dot, as the Jets dominated the category 14-5 in the first 20 minutes.
Early in the second period, a Jets’ miscommunication led to a power-play goal for Philly.
A pair of Jets looked at each other in the defensive zone rather than jumping on a loose puck, which resulted in a Giroux attempt to beat the Winnipeg players to the biscuit. Knowing the Flyers’ forward would most likely beat him and his teammate to the puck, Tobias Enstrom took Giroux down for an interference call.
Merely seconds into the man advantage, a Kimmo Timonen shot from the point led to a Hartnell goal. Although he kept Timonen’s shot from reaching the net, Simmonds’ redirection caused Pavelec to be out of position for a Hartnell attempt that he put home with ease for his 28th goal of the season.
The Broad Street Bullies proceeded to dictate play for the next several minutes, but thanks to a Braydon Coburn hook the Jets tied the game at two goals apiece.
In the box for a massive hook on Tobias Enstrom, Ladd deposited his 18th goal of the season off a great pass from Blake Wheeler behind the net. With Bryzgalov still looking behind the net, the Jets’ captain slammed home the game-tying goal 7:52 into the middle stanza.
It took 64 seconds for Ladd to pot his second goal of the game and for the Jets to have their second one-goal lead of the game. Thanks to a rebound off of a Byfuglien bomb from the point, Ladd backhanded home his 19th goal of the season.
Minutes later, Talbot, who missed on a pair of painfully close scoring chances earlier in the period, put home a rebound off of an Andrej Meszaros shot from the point. The defenseman’s shot hit traffic in front of the net, which included Briere and Zac Rinaldo, and bounced towards the right faceoff circle, where Talbot registered his 17th goal of the season with 8:46 left in the period.
Shortly after Talbot’s tally, Ladd nearly got his hat-trick goal, as he had a shot ring off the pipe and the score remained tied at three.
The second period concluded without another goal, as the Flyers out shot the Jets for a second straight period. This time, the count was 16-10 for the Flyers. As for faceoffs, the Flyers turned things around by winning 16 of the period’s 24 faceoffs.
Seconds before the five-minute mark in the third period, Evander Kane scored the Jets’ third power-play goal of the game to give Winnipeg another one-goal lead.
After a crazy scramble in front of Bryzgalov’s net, which featured Brayden Schenn dropping to his knees on the goal line to make a save, Briere was called for a tripping penalty. On the man advantage, Kane skated into the middle of the circles and let go of what seemed to be a harmless wrister. As the puck knuckled on Bryz, it hit the goalie’s glove and flew into the net for Kane’s 23rd goal of the season 4:57 into the final period.
“Just a stupid mistake,” Bryzgalov said. “I started catching the puck and I miscalculated the distance between the puck and my glove, and it hit me on the edge of the glove and went in.”
Later in the period, after many odd-man rushes for Philly and a good glove-save by Bryzgalov, Matt Read dropped the gloves with Slater. According to the refs, the pair didn’t do enough to earn fighting majors, as Read earned a minor and Slater earned a double-minor for roughing to send the Flyers back to the power play.
The Flyers failed to convert on the man advantage, but it wasn’t due to lack of chances. Jakub Voracek was robbed by Pavelec in what was definitely the save of the game. Finding a rebound, Voracek chopped the puck with his backhand towards the open net only to have Pavelec reach back and make an incredible glove-save.
In the final seconds of the game, it looked as though the Flyers were going to suffer their second straight loss. Thankfully for the Flyers faithful, Simmonds converted on a beautiful pass from James van Riemsdyk.
As Giroux and Timonen controlled the puck patiently in the defensive zone, it was JvR who gained possession of the puck at the Jets’ blue line. Flying along the boards, JvR centered a pass to the slot from the corner. Rushing to the net, Simmonds tipped home his 22nd goal of the season with 9.7 seconds left.
The goal pumped up the Flyers and deflated the Jets’ crowd, as both teams prepared for the surprise overtime session.
Philly continues their key four-game road trip with a match-up against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Thursday night.
Notes: Since their 14-game winning streak against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Flyers are just 2-7-3 against the Thrashers/Jets organization…Paired with their 48 shots in their 9-8 loss earlier in the season at home to the Jets, tonight’s win marked the first time the Flyers have posted 48 shots or more shots against the same team twice since the 1984-1985 season. They had 58 shots in 13-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on 10/18/84 and 50 shots in 7-4 win against the Canucks on 12/28/84…The 55 shots tied the Flyers’ record for shots in a road game, first set during a 4-3 overtime win at Boston on March 1, 2007…The Flyers upped their record to 4-4-1 when posting 40 shots or more this season and 9-9-2 in the past two seasons when doing so…Kubina had three shots on net in 20:38 TOI…With the secondary assist on Talbot’s second period goal, Grossman earned his first point as a Flyer…Tonight was Jagr’s first overtime goal since November 1, 2006 when he helped the Rangers beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3…Giroux had 10 shots on net, his career-high for a single game. He now has eight points (1G, 7A) in his last three games..The Flyers’ 55 shots on net was a season-high…The Flyers have benefitted from a goal by either Talbot or Simmonds in six straight games and in 13 of their last 18 games…Tonight was the first game this season the Flyers didn’t kill at least one penalty in a game where they gave the opposition at least one power-play opportunity. It’s the fourth time all season the Flyers have allowed three power-play goals against…The Flyers improved to 5-2 in overtime games this season…Tonight was Ladd’s first two-goal game of the season. It’s his first two-goal game since March 5th, 2011…The Flyers improved to 1-2-1 against the Jets and to 8-5-2 against the Southeast Division (FLA 2-0-0, WPG 1-2-1, WSH 1-1-0, TBL 1-1-1, CAR 3-1-0)…The Flyers improved to 33-19-7. They were 39-15-5 after 59 games last season.