OH WHAT A NIGHT By: Adam Kimelman, NHLcom
Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds didn't take his first shift Thursday until 3:46 into the game.
Better late than never.
The Philadelphia forward, injured in warm-ups, scored two of the Flyers' four second-period goals, including the game-winner, as Philadelphia routed the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 7-2.
It was the second two-goal game of the season for Simmonds, who entered 2011-12 having just one in his previous three seasons.
Claude Giroux set a new career-high with five assists, Scott Hartnell had a goal and three assists, and Maxime Talbot had a pair of goals as the Flyers rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit to win for just the second time in their last seven games.
Giroux is the second player this season to have a five-assist game; Oilers rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had five against the Blackhawks on Nov. 19, 2011. He's the first Flyer to have five assists in a game since Alexandre Picard on Feb. 1, 2007.
The Flyers, already missing top forwards Jaromir Jagr due to the flu and James van Riemsdyk with a concussion, played most of the final two periods without two other forwards. Danny Briere left the game after the first period due to an upper-body injury during the first period, while Tom Sestito left the game early in the second with a lower-body injury.
Simmonds missed the early stages of the game after being hit in the face with a puck during pre-game warm-ups. He returned sporting a full cage to protect his injured face, but it didn't stop him from getting down low in the offensive zone, where he scored his two goals.
After Talbot tipped a Braydon Coburn shot past Enroth 54 seconds into the second, Simmonds scored his 19th of the season at 3:32 to tie the game. Ten seconds after Tyler Myers was sent to the penalty box, Simmonds, camped in front of Enroth, dug a puck out of his skates and slid it into the Buffalo net.
Erik Gustafsson scored his first NHL goal to close the second-period onslaught. Jakub Voracek carried the puck into the Buffalo end and cut wide down the right wing. He dropped a pass to a trailing Gustafsson, and the rookie defenseman snapped a shot over Ryan Miller's blocker at 13:48 to make it 4-2.
The Flyers added goals 31 seconds apart by Talbot and Voracek early in the third to put the game away.
|Claude Giroux’s five-assist game was a career high and the first for a Flyer since Alexandre Picard had five assists on Feb. 1, 2007 vs. New Jersey. |
Giroux, who had dropped seven points back of Evgeni Malkin in the NHL scoring race, is now back within two points of the Pittsburgh center. He now has 22 goals and 45 assists for 67 points on the season.
Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot each tied career highs with their two-goal games, and both of them did it for the second time in a span of a month. For Simmonds, tonight was the fourth occasion of his career. He last did it on Feb. 2 vs. Nashville. Talbot also did it for the fourth time in his career; his last one was January 22 vs. Boston.
Erik Gustafsson became the seventh Flyer this season to record his first career NHL goal. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the highest number of rookies to score at least one goal in a season for the Flyers since the 1993-94 season, when eight rookies scored at least one goal:
(1) Jason Bowen, Jim Cummins, Todd Hlushko, Milos Holan, Stewart Malgunas and Bob Wilkie ... (8) Andre Faust ... (38) Mikael Renberg.
Jakub Voracek became the 10th Flyer to reach double digits in goals with his 10th of the season tonight.
Matt Read played a season/career high 21:57 tonight.
Eric Wellwood has played three games for the Flyers while on recall from the Phantoms and has two assists in those three games.
With so many standout performances, we couldn't pick just one.
So Wayne Simmonds with two goals and 25 stiches to his mouth gets tonight's star.
Scott Hartnell with his four-point night, including a goal and three assists gets tonight's star.
Max Talbot with his two-goal effort for his 15th and 16th goals of the year keeps adding to his career-high in goals, gets tonight's star.
And last but not least, Claude Giroux for earning a career-high five assists in one night gets tonight's star of the game.
|"I thought when he got back in the first period, I didn’t like a lot of what we were doing but I didn’t mind him and that’s coming right from the table and having your mouth numb like that and teeth knocked around and everything else. He was ready from the start.” |
- Peter Laviolette
"You know it's these kinds of wins that bring us together. We didn't start the way that we wanted to. We talked about it between the first and second and then we started to play and never looked back. Like I said, I think it's a win that happened at the right time. We definitely need to build off this in the future."
- Max Talbot
"It is one of the better feelings I have had in my life. To get it at home, it is one of the best feelings in my life."
- Erik Gustafsson on his 1st NHL goal
|Tonight's turning point can't be pin-pointed to one goal scored or a span of a few minutes. Tonight it was the entire second period that shifted the game in favor of the Orange and Black. |
The Flyers came out flat and within the first 20 minutes yielded a two-goal lead to the Sabres.
The next 20 minutes were a complete 180. Max Talbot kicked off the night of scoring for the Flyers and pulling team within one goal just 57 seconds into the frame.
Next, a pair of identical goals on the power play from Wayne Simmonds gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead and it was off to the races from there.
Erik Gustafsson recorded his first NHL goal off a great drop pass from Jakub Voracek, who would record a goal of his own later in the third period.
Talbot added his second of the game and Scott Hartnell capped off the night that saw seven unanswered goals for a 7-2 win.