PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – Claude Giroux scored with 13.6 seconds left in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Jets 3-2 Monday at Wells Fargo Center.
Giroux converted a pass from Shayne Gostisbehere – who dove to maintain possession – after the Jets turned the puck over in the defensive zone, rifling a shot past Ondrej Pavelec for the winner.
The Jets erased a 2-0 deficit with goals from Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler in the second and third periods, but couldn’t get the next one.
Pavelec, meanwhile, had a fabulous night in the blue paint, stopping 29 in a losing cause.
The line of Scheifele, Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers were dangerous all night, combing for 15 shots and 12 scoring chances.
“That was a pretty impressive performance,” Head Coach Paul Maurice said. “These guys are just starting to find out what they can do. They enjoy playing with each other. It’s the old Steve Jobs line: ‘A’ players like playing with ‘A’ players.
“Since Ehlers came back from that injury they’ve been dangerous almost every shift. That’s the feeling when they touch the puck, anyhow.”
Mark Streit drew first blood for the home side just 41 seconds into the middle frame. Streit – pinching all the way down from the right point – took a back-door feed from Sean Couturier and popped it over the blocker for the game’s initial tally.
The Flyers took a 2-0 lead at 5:10 as Wayne Simmonds – who was robbed earlier on – got a lucky bounce off Dustin Byfuglien for goal No. 26 in what could be a career season. With not a Flyer in sight, Simmonds’ long bomb from the centre point found Byfuglien’s right knee, sending the previously off-course pill to the back of the net.
“We had a slow start and they jumped on us,” Pavelec said. “They had a lot of energy because they’re battling for a playoff spot. But we picked it up in the second period. In this situation you have to look at the positives.
“It was a good game.”
Scheifele’s team-leading 25th cut the deficit in half just a minute and 18 seconds later. After intercepting a pass and beating Couturier – the eighth pick, one below Scheifele, in the 2011 draft – at the defensive blue line, No. 55 took it the distance, firing shot low, blocker side on Flyers goalie Steve Mason.
Shots favoured the Flyers 21-19 after two.
“We knew they were fighting for their playoff lives and they were going to come out strong,” Adam Lowry said. “That goal by (Scheifele) gave us some life, and then another great pass over to (Wheeler) and we were right back in it. It’s nice to see the resiliency in this room. Down 2-0 on the road, we found a way to get back in it.”
The Jets tied things up at 2:35 of the third asWheeler hit the 20-goal plateau for the third straight season and the fourth time in his career.
And oh my, it sure was a beauty.
Who else but the red-hot Scheifele threaded a beautiful backhand pass into his lap at full stride. The veteran made no mistake, deking to his left and going water bottle on Mason to bring the Jets all the way back from a two-goal deficit.
“They’re starting to move off each other, and there’s so much speed on the wings,” Maurice said. “One guy’s got the puck and the other two guys are building speed as he’s carrying it. It backs people off and creates some holes and some lanes.”
After surviving an early onslaught – thanks, in large part, to Pavelec’s Herculean-like efforts – the Jets finished the first period in a scoreless tie, trailing 12-8 in shots, but getting the better of the chances after killing off an undisciplined penalty partway through.
Pavelec, who was coming off back-to-wins for the first time this season, made a couple of big saves to keep it at zeroes, including a beautiful glove grab off Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
“It was a different energy than the last one in Buffalo. These games are fun, because you have to find the energy to (match up),” Pavelec said.
“We have a lot of young guys, and for them, it’s great experience.
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com