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game recap

Flyers move closer to playoff spot

Philadelphia defeats Detroit to pull within point of wild card

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl admitted there were things off the ice that may have been affecting his play recently, but it certainly didn't look like anything was bothering him Tuesday. 

Raffl scored two goals to help the Flyers to a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Wells Fargo Center, moving Philadelphia (33-23-12) within one point of the Red Wings (34-25-11) for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Flyers are 7-1-1 in their past nine games.

It was Raffl's second two-goal NHL game; his previous one came Oct. 25, 2014, also against the Red Wings. He has 12 goals this season; that's off the pace he set last season when he scored 21, but he has four in his past seven games. 

That coincides with Feb. 28, when he signed a three-year contract. Prior to that, he had two goals in 21 games. Knowing what his future holds has raised his spirits, and his play. 

Video: DET@PHI: Raffl nets great individual effort

"You can never be comfortable in this League [but the contract] helped," he said. "I was a little rattled about getting traded and stuff. But that monkey is off the back now."

Raffl's first goal was a combination of speed and power. He carried the puck around Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey along the left side of the ice, then threw a reverse hit that knocked Quincey down. With a bit of extra time and space, Raffl deked goalie Petr Mrazek (42 saves) down to the ice and scored at 5:41 of the first period. 

"He's unconscious right now," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said. "He's unbelievable. He's skating down the wing and everything that hits him is bouncing off of him. He's doing a heck of a job." 

Simmonds also scored in the first, and the Flyers outshot the Red Wings 23-3. It was the most shots on goal they've had in a period this season and two shy of the franchise record.

Video: DET@PHI: Raffl scores second goal off rebound

"We came out firing on all cylinders," Simmonds said. "We haven't been the best team in the first period all year long. We made it a point tonight that if we were going to win this game we needed to have a good start."

The Red Wings pushed back in the second, with Andreas Athanasiou's goal 2:14 into the period making it 2-1. But then Raffl stepped between two Red Wings players to backhand his rebound over Mrazek's right arm to make it 3-1 at 7:01 of the second period. 

"I thought we came out and played really, really well to start the second," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Our first few shifts were really good. We have to stay out of the [penalty] box for sure. And we can't have giveaway goals. We have to make teams earn their goals. And certainly their pressure was really good but I thought we had real, real bad mistakes that were preventable."

Datsyuk's goal at 14:21 of the second period got the Red Wings within 3-2, but Shayne Gostisbehere's goal with 1:06 remaining in the second, a pass attempt that went off the skate of Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser, put the Flyers ahead 4-2. 

Video: DET@PHI: Simmonds finishes rebound for a 2-0 lead

Detroit continued its push in the third, outshooting Philadelphia 21-9 and getting Tomas Tatar's goal from in front with 3:46 remaining. But Flyers goalie Steve Mason preserved the lead, with his best save coming against Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg with 7:22 left when he did the splits to get his blocker on a backhander from in close.

"You just kind of try to wait him out and be as patient as possible," said Mason, who made 34 saves. "He's an extremely talented guy especially when he gets so closer. ... Big save. Got to come up at key times and that was one of them. Those are things goaltenders have to do."

Another thing they have to do is have short memories. The Flyers play at the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN1).

Video: DET@PHI: Gostisbehere's pass deflects past Mrazek

"We'll enjoy this for a couple minutes," Gostisbehere said. "We've got a big game tomorrow. Back-to-back, team that just got beat pretty bad at home the other night (the Blackhawks lost 5-0 to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday). They're going to be ready and hopefully we'll be ready for them."

Blashill said he's already moving ahead to Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and a chance to stay in a playoff spot.

"I know we have to win a game on Thursday night," he said. "I know we came into tonight knowing we needed to win. Now we have to go Thursday night and get a win. That's the only thing I worry about."

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