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Flyers top Blue Jackets to snap four-game skid

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- After opening the season with 11 of 19 games on home ice, the Philadelphia Flyers are heading into a difficult part of their schedule, with seven of their next eight games, and 15 of 20, on the road.

But at least they're going into the tough stretch having played some of their best hockey of the season.

Braydon Coburn had a goal and an assist Saturday to help the Flyers defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 at Wells Fargo Center and snap a four-game losing streak.

Brayden Schenn, Mark Streit and Wayne Simmonds also scored for Philadelphia (8-9-2), and Jakub Voracek had two assists to add to his NHL-leading point total to 29. Goaltender Steve Mason stopped 20 of 22 shots.

Flyers captain Claude Giroux had two assists and won 23 of 28 faceoffs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first player to win that many faceoffs in one game since Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks won 23 of 28 on March 25 against the Dallas Stars.

"Any time you finish a home game before a big road trip you want to make sure that you leave a little bit confident in your game," Giroux said. "Tonight was one of our best games in the past five, six games."

Boone Jenner and Matt Calvert scored for the Blue Jackets (6-12-2), who were playing the second game of a back-to-back; they lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Boston Bruins at home Friday. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 37 shots.

"Some guys were engaged into the game," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "... We didn't have enough guys up front who were engaged in the game."

The Flyers were fully engaged, especially early in the third period after Calvert scored to get the Blue Jackets within 3-2 at 2:06.

Rather than sit back and defend, the Flyers pushed forward, and Coburn ended a 24-game goal drought at 3:18 of the third to re-establish their advantage.

"I think we tend to get on our heels a little bit, but the guys responded well," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "That's a big thing. We're going to give up goals, people are going to get goals. It how you respond to them that's important."

Richards agreed that any momentum gained by Calvert's goal was wiped away when Coburn's shot from the center of the zone above the circles got past Bobrovsky.

"[Calvert's] goal gave us some life on the bench," Richards said. "It was a one-goal game. Their goal did take some of that away."

The Flyers continued to push forward, outshooting the Blue Jackets 8-7 in the third period. It was a marked difference from other games for the Flyers, who have been outscored 24-19 in the third period in their 19 games.

"I think that was the biggest difference between the game today and the games against Montreal [blew a 3-0 third period lead and lost in a shootout] and Colorado [up 4-0 after two periods but held on for 4-3 win]," Voracek said. "We sat back and waited for something to happen. Today we took it to them in the third period. We were on the forecheck, we played well, we hit, we skated. That's why we won."

Jenner was disappointed with the Blue Jackets' effort Saturday.

"I don't think we were at the level we needed to be tonight, obviously, to get a win," he said. "It is hard to win in this league, and we have to be willing to win every night and be willing to do everything we can. I think tonight we really wanted it, but we needed to come out with a better effort as a group for all three periods."

The Flyers were feeling good after what they felt was a strong effort in a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, and that solid play continued Saturday.

Philadelphia started by getting the game's first goal for the sixth time this season when Schenn got into the slot and tipped a Voracek shot past Bobrovsky, off the left post, along the goal line, off the right post and in.

The Flyers are 5-0-1 when scoring first, 3-9-1 when allowing the first goal.

Jenner's rocket from the right side at 4:36 of the first was called a goal after a video review. The Flyers took a 2-1 lead after one period when Streit knocked in a rebound of his own shot with 5:05 remaining.

Simmonds' power-play goal put the Flyers ahead 3-1 after two periods. Voracek's shot from in close was blocked by Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, and the puck popped in the air. Simmonds gloved it next to the right post, dropped it and banked a shot off Bobrovsky's right skate before the goaltender could get set.

"Jake was trying to make a pass to me backdoor, and it went in the air," Simmonds said. "I think I was the only one who was actually paying attention to where the puck went and I got fortunate enough to grab it and put it down on the ice, and [Bobrovsky] wasn't looking so I just put it in the net."

It was the kind of effort the Flyers have been waiting for, and it comes at the right time. Their rough stretch of games away from Wells Fargo Center starts with a two-game trip against the New York Islanders on Monday and Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

Philadelphia will play its only home game of the eight-game stretch Friday, against the New York Rangers in the Thanksgiving Showdown, but the next day the Flyers start a five-game trip with a rematch with the Rangers in New York, followed by three games in five nights in California.

"It's going to be a lot of road games coming up," Voracek said. "... It's going to be a very tough schedule. But I was saying, last year I think we had a similar schedule when we went out West. It was a tough road trip, but we were very successful, and I think that was the reason we made the playoffs. We were very good picking up some points on the road. Hopefully we're going to do it this year."


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