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game recap

Flyers rally for OT win against Blue Jackets, gain in Metropolitan race

Increase lead for third in division to two points when Hayes scores with 1:09 left

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

Hayes wins it in OT

PHI@CBJ: Hayes buries wrist shot for overtime winner

Kevin Hayes wires home a wrist shot past Elvis Merzlikins to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jackets in overtime

  • 00:46 •

COLUMBUS -- Kevin Hayes scored with 1:09 left in overtime to give the Philadelphia Flyers a come-from-behind 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Thursday.

Hayes skated the puck from the red line into the right side of the Blue Jackets zone before beating goalie Elvis Merzlikins with a wrist shot from just inside the left face-off circle.

Philadelphia (34-20-7) swept a home-and-home and the season series against Columbus (30-19-13), which moved into the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference despite losing its seventh game in a row (0-3-4).


[WATCH: All Flyers vs. Blue Jackets highlights]


The Flyers have a two-point lead for third place in the Metropolitan Division on the Blue Jackets, who they defeated 5-1 in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"It's going to be a fun run if we play the right way," Hayes said. "I thought we played the right way the last two games. Four points against a division opponent that was above us and now is beneath us.

"Two or three weeks ago, we were battling just to get in the wild card, and now we're battling for home ice."

Columbus had not lost seven straight games since starting the 2015-16 season 0-8-0.

"I thought we hung in there," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We played hard. Found a way to lose it at the end."

Travis Konecny had a goal and two assists for the second straight game, and Brian Elliott made 28 saves for the Flyers, who are 5-2-0 in their past seven games and 7-3-0 in their past 10.

Video: PHI@CBJ: Konecny uses skate to net redirection

Nick Foligno and Oliver Bjorkstrand each had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets. Merzlikins made 29 saves.

Bjorkstrand gave Columbus a 1-0 lead 41 seconds into the first period when he scored on the first shot of the game.

Foligno, playing his 900th NHL game, made it 2-0 at 9:05 with a between-the-legs shot from the top of the crease for his first goal in 13 games.

Video: PHI@CBJ: Foligno notches between-the-legs goal

Konecny cut it to 2-1 at 9:28 when Travis Sanheim's shot went in off him at the right post as defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov took him down.

Stefan Matteau, playing his first game for the Blue Jackets after being recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, made it 3-1 at 3:39 of the second when he tipped Boone Jenner's shot from the high slot.

"I tried to play with confidence, play with energy. I did the best I could," Matteau said.

The goal was his first in the NHL since Dec. 4, 2015, against the Flyers when he played for the New Jersey Devils.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored with a wrist shot from above the circles on the rush at 14:26 to get Philadelphia within 3-2.

Claude Giroux tied the game 3-3 at 15:52 of the second on the power play with a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle off a pass from below the goal line by Sean Couturier.

"We were patient in how we wanted to play," Giroux said. "Even if you're down a few goals, you have to trust your system is going to get you back in the game. That's what happened. When we had chances to score, we did."

Giroux has four goals and eight assists during a seven-game point streak.

Video: PHI@CBJ: Giroux buries one-timer for PPG


They said it

"We had these couple dates circled, and now we've got to look ahead and circle a couple more, take care of business when we need to, and we'll put ourselves in a good spot. We want to keep playing. We don't want to sit back and watch other teams play. We want to determine our own destiny." -- Flyers goalie Brian Elliott on sweeping the home-and-home against the Blue Jackets

"We did a lot of good things throughout the game, but we had that lull there at the end of the second period. We've got to stay on them." -- Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner

"It's the type of game you want to play in. Every game for us is a playoff mentality. We need to bring that compete every game and put the emotional side into it. The compete level can go higher for everybody. (After) losing in their building, we wanted to bring our 'A' game and get a win here." -- Blue Jackets forward Nathan Gerbe

Video: EA Sports Overtime Game Winner: Hayes wins it


Need to know

It is the first time the Flyers have swept the Blue Jackets in a season series. Columbus won all four games last season. ... Couturier has five points (three goals, two assists) during a five-game point streak. ... Flyers defenseman Mark Friedman was minus-1 with four hits, one blocked shot and one shot on goal in 16:26 playing in place of Justin Braun (flu). ... Bjorkstrand, who did not play in overtime because of a lower-body injury, has seven points (four goals, three assists) during a six-game point streak and 20 points (14 goals, six assists) in his past 17 games. ... Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara had two assists for his first multipoint game since Nov. 20, 2017.


What's next

Flyers: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: At the Nashville Predators on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Video: Hayes nets OT winner to lift Flyers over Blue Jackets

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