GLENDALE, Ariz. – Detroit. Columbus. Edmonton. Vancouver and now Phoenix.
Four on the road. One at home. In the past month, those are the game the Flyers trailed in the third period and somehow managed to come back and win.
The latest was an impressive 5-3 victory over the Coyotes Saturday, a game they trailed by two goals until late in the second period and then used a dominant third period to come from behind and steal the victory.
“We’re really resilient as of late,” said Wayne Simmonds, who scored again – his ninth goal in nine games. “We’ve just been sticking to the game plan. Regardless if we’re up or we’re down we’re trying to play hockey the same way. More often than not, when you do that you are going to win hockey games.”
And the Flyers are finding that to be the case of late. With the win, the Flyers (21-17-4, 46 points) moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division, virtue of a tiebreaker over Washington.
|Chris Vandevelde was one of the Flyers who stepped up in the absence of Matt Read and MIchael Raffl. He was active on every shift, playing 10:34 for the Flyers. |
“Our team knows they can get back into games,” coach Craig Berube said. When your skill guys are scoring goals, which they are, you feel like you can get back into games.”
And that’s what’s happening. Just look at the score sheet from Saturday – Scott Hartnell, Brayden Schenn, Simmonds, Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux.
“We learned the hard way at the start of the year,” Giroux said. “Now, even if we’re down a couple of goals we stay within the system. We play a patient game and when (we do that0 we’re going to have a chance in most games.”
Early on it didn’t look good for the Flyers, who weren’t playing up to snuff. A series of penalties, soft plays on the puck, turnovers – they were haunting the Flyers again.
And early in the second, when Michael Boedeker scored on a breakaway after a slow defensive change by the Flyers cost them, it looked like the Flyers were going to fly home feeling like they let a great start to the road trip slip away.
But that’s when the worm started to turn.
Vinny Lecavalier made a nice, no-look backhand pass from behind the net and it sat on the doorstep for Brayden Schenn to jam it in.
After going 16 games without a goal, Schenn has started to surge and has three goals in the last four games.
Simmonds tied it on the power play and then Voracek made a deft play to strip Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle of the puck at the circle and used a head fake to get Mike Smith leaning ever so slightly before sliding a soft wrister under his pad for the game-winning goal.
“We have very good chemistry,” Voracek said. “We’re a hard-working team over here. In the beginning of the season we struggled, but right now we believe in ourselves… It shows a lot of team effort and we never give up.”
It was indicative at home where the Flyers still maintain a nine-game winning streak that stretched back to November, but it was certainly missing on the road.
That seems to have changed drastically on this trip.
“This trip changed our road mentality a little bit,” Berube said. “I didn’t think we were that good on the road coming into this trip and we turned it around. We discussed a lot of the little things you have to do on the road to win hockey games.”
There were a couple of would-be turning points in the game for the Flyers.
|Scott Hartnell celebrates with his teammates after cutting the lead to 2-1 in the second period. |
After getting behind 2-0, Berube called a timeout and chastised the Flyers for the way they were playing. Then, 17 seconds later, Hartnell scored and they were back in the game.
“I think that timeout came at the right moment,” Voracek said. “We kind of had a slow start to the second period and we can play better.”
But goalie Steve Mason, who made 26 saves, credited someone else for lifting the spirits.
“Rosehill and Bissonnette went toe-to-toe and it was one of the best fights I’ve ever seen,” Mason said. “Rosehill is tough as nails. He stepped up at a key time for us.”
It was a true slobberknocker. It was so good that it went two rounds. The combatants traded blow after blow and Rosehill earned a minor decision over Biz Nasty.
That came after the Flyers were down 3-1 and it definitely seemed to change the momentum of the game.
“I thought it was a great job by Rosehill,” Berube said. “He’s very smart at that. He picks his right spots and does his job well.”
Now the Flyers have one more road game to get out of the way before they get back to Wells Fargo Center ice and it’s a key Metro Division matchup in New Jersey against a Devils team who is hot on their heels.
“So far so good, but we have one more game on this trip,” Simmonds said. “We can’t be satisfied. We can’t relax here at all. We got to make sure we’re ready for that game in New Jersey.”
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