Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 24 shots and Tye McGinn recorded the deciding goal early in the third period as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Winnipeg Jets by a 3-2 count on Tuesday night at a packed MTS Centre.
“I want to play every game like it’s my last,” said McGinn. “Nothing is for certain in the NHL so I try to work hard every shift.”
Brayden Schenn and Kimmo Timonen also lit the lamp, with Jakub Voracek adding a pair of assists for the Flyers, who recovered from a dispiriting 5-2 loss in Toronto on Monday to record their fourth win in their last six contests.
Philadelphia also evened their record on this six-game road trip which continues in Newark on Friday. The Orange and Black posted only their second win in eight road tilts in 2013.
Andrew Ladd produced both scores for the Jets,who have lost five of their last seven games. Al Montoya allowed two goals on 12 shots through two periods before departing due to a lower-body injury. Ondrej Pavelec, who had been fighting through the flu in recent days, made 10 stops in the third.
Philadelphia greeted Montoya’s replacement with a goal at the 4:17 mark, as Voracek’s quick cross-ice pass from the right-wing boards was redirected off the skate and then the stick of a charging McGinn. The lightning-quick nature of the score — which put the visitors up 3-1 — precipitated a booth review, which upheld the original call on the ice for lack of a distinct kicking motion.
Winnipeg had two consecutive power-play chances to climb within a goal, but finally did so after Pavelec was called to the bench for an extra skater and Ladd stashed his second of the game past Bryzgalov with 47 seconds to go.
It was as close as the Flyers would let their hosts sniff a comeback.
“It wasn’t a good game, but it wasn’t a bad one either,” said Jets forward Bryan Little. “It was like we were playing not to lose. We could have been a lot better, but we weren’t. That seconds period, we could have had a couple, but we put ourselves in a position to be down 2-1 and it was our own fault.
Bryzgalov, who was shelled for four goals in less than two periods in that Leafs loss, was tested only 31 seconds after the opening face-off, but shuttled away a close chance from Little.
After failing to dent the league’s worst penalty kill on the game’s first power play, the visitors picked up the first goal at the 8:07 mark,. Voracek corralled a loose puck behind the Winnipeg net, and moved to the right side, where he turned and dished into the slot for Schenn, who redirected the puck off Montoya’s shoulder and in.
Minutes later, Montoya flashed the pad to stop a Harry Zolnierczyk breakaway, then the Winnipeg goaler was protected by his post on a power play as Ruslan Fedotenko narrowly missed his short-handed chance.
Later on, just after that Jets advantage expired, Blake Wheeler used a blind, backhand pass from the left circle to confuse three Flyers defenders and reach Ladd, who alertly tipped it home for a 1-1 game at 14:12.
It was a 2-1 edge for the Flyers with 2:52 left in the first, thanks to a rare power-play strike. Simmonds wheeled a loose puck around the cage to Claude Giroux, who dished back to the left point for a blast by Timonen, which sailed cleanly into the back of the net.
A blistering bout between McGinn and Mark Stuart erupted with 5:17 played in the second period, won by the former. The fight was precipitated when Stuart slashed Voracek as he cruised through Montoya’s crease seconds earlier.
“He’s been such a nice addition to our lineup,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette of McGinn. “He’s big, he’s strong, he finishes his checks. He fights once in awhile. He scores goals. He sticks up for his teammates. These are all things you look for when a player is coming up — positive contributions to our lineup.”
Bryzgalov kept it a one-goal margin in the final minute-plus of the period, in a remarkable sequence stopping Evander Kane on three separate occasions and Dustin Byfuglien once as the Jets swarmed around his crease.
Notes: The Flyers improved to 2-1-0 in Manitoba since the Thrashers relocated from Atlanta…Philly also posted its first regulation victory in Winnipeg since a 4-2 decision against the original Jets on April 6, 1993…Voracek leads the club in scoring with 10 points (3G, 7A)…Wheeler added a pair of assists for Winnipeg…Prior to the game, the Flyers recalled Zolnierczyk from Adirondack of the AHL and placed forward Jody Shelley on injured reserve with a hip issue that will require surgery…Meanwhile, Philly forward Sean Couturier missed his second straight contest with the flu…Byfuglien returned to action after missing five games due to an undisclosed injury.