Skip to main content

Four-goal third period leads Flyers past Red Wings

by Brian Hedger

DETROIT -- The Philadelphia Flyers needed a monumental effort in the third period, but they did something pretty rare Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

The Flyers beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-3 despite entering the game with one victory here in 19 regular-season games since the 1989-90 season. Trailing 3-2 heading into the third, the Flyers scored four times to deflate the injury-laden Red Wings (14-8-7).

"I wasn't even born back then [in 1989], so I didn't really know that," said 20-year old center Sean Couturier, who had two goals and two assists. "We've been having great chemistry [as a line]. We're just keeping it simple, putting pucks on net and having guys at the net. That's how we're creating chances."

The other two members of Couturier's line, Matt Read and Steve Downie, also had big games. Read finished with a goal and two assists and Downie had a goal and assist to keep a recent trend going in the right direction. During the past 10 games, the three have combined to score 11 goals and 26 points to help Philadelphia post a 6-3-1 record over that span.

"They don't change much," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "They just keep plugging along, doing the right things with the puck and checking. And because of their checking, they get offensive chances."

Philadelphia held Detroit to a 1-for-7 performance on the power-play and killed off four of five man-advantages in the second. The Red Wings' lone power-play goal, scored by Tomas Tatar in the second, was during a 5-on-3 situation.

The Flyers went 3-for-3 on their own power plays, with two scored in the third. This was the first time they've won a game they trailed going into the third and the relief was evident.

"It's a great feeling," said Scott Hartnell, whose goal made it 5-3 at 9:58 of the third. "In the dressing room [during the second intermission], it was a calm confidence in here that we were going to go out there and do it [in the third]. Our power play was the difference tonight and our penalty kill was great too."

Detroit has only won five of 16 home games (5-5-6) and played without forwards Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc), Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and Todd Bertuzzi (shoulder), along with rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser (shoulder).

Things looked good for the Red Wings after Johan Franzen and Tatar (two goals) scored less than two minutes apart midway through the second, but it fell apart quickly in the final 20 minutes.

Philadelphia scored three times in the first 10 minutes of the third and added a second by Couturier, who scored into an empty net to post the Flyers' highest goal total for a game this season.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was not pleased.

"[We've] got to win games, that’s all there is to it," he said. "There's an opportunity for every one of these guys right here to lead, to grab a bigger piece and do their part. I thought Tatar was a factor in tonight's game. To me, that means you get more. If you're not a factor, you get less, it's real simple."

That includes goalie Jimmy Howard, who allowed five of the six goals. Babcock said Jonas Gustavsson will get the next start on the road Friday against the New Jersey Devils.

Claude Giroux also scored for the Flyers (13-13-2), who helped goalie Steve Mason (32 saves) pick up his 10th victory and third in a row. Philadelphia simply dominated the first 10 minutes of the third, outshooting Detroit 9-4 through the first 13 minutes and getting goals from Giroux, Couturier and Hartnell.

Giroux's tied it 3-3 at 5:15 via the power play with a long wrist shot from above the left circle that sailed through traffic. Couturier then put the Flyers ahead for the first time, 4-3, at 8:28 on his line's second goal.

Hartnell made it 5-3 at 9:58 during another power play with his sixth goal of the season and third point of the game before Couturier (two goals, two assists) sealed it at 19:01 with an empty-net goal.

"We didn’t do enough good things tonight to win the game and it starts with specialty teams," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "We need to do a way better job on the power play. We had a lot of power plays in the second and we could not take advantage of it. They found a way on their PP to take advantage of their opportunities. We just have to find a way to get better."

The Red Wings got on the scoreboard first on Tatar's first of the game, a snap shot he zipped over Mason's shoulder into the upper right corner at 10:17 for a 1-0 lead.

Downie tied it 1-1 at 13:48 by putting a shot from the slot between Howard's pads after the puck found its way through traffic. It was his first goal since being traded to the Flyers by the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 31 in exchange for Maxime Talbot.

The Red Wings got a golden chance to retake the lead with 1:33 left in the first, but Justin Abdelkader's wrist shot off a breakaway clanged off the iron to keep it 1-1 starting the second.

Franzen and Tatar gave the Red Wings a 3-1 lead halfway through the second, but Read's goal with 3:22 left cut it to 3-2 and set the stage for the big Flyers' big third.

Couturier fed him with a nice pass after Downie helped win a puck battle.

"Sean made a great pass and I got lucky," Read said. "I put it underneath Howard's pad and there was a [defenseman's] stick there, but it was just across the line. It was one of those goals that was [created by] hard work from the other two guys on the line and I was just in the right spot at the right time."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.