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Voracek makes Jackets pay in Flyers' 9-2 win

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said he had something to prove against the team that traded him this past June, and Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he showed them just what they were missing.

Voracek had a goal and an assist in a five-goal first period and added another assist in the third as the Flyers routed the visiting Blue Jackets 9-2 at Wells Fargo Center.

Sean Couturier -- taken with the first-round pick Philadelphia acquired along with Voracek from the Blue Jackets in the deal that sent Jeff Carter to Columbus -- had 2 goals, James van Riemsdyk had a goal and 2 assists, and Maxime Talbot, Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr each had a goal and an assist.

Eight different Flyers had goals; according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the fifth time in team history that's happened, most recently in an 8-5 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 23, 1983.

Of the Flyers' 18 skaters, 15 had at least 1 point. Rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson was a plus-6 in a team-high 23:00 of ice time. His defense partner, Matt Carle, was a plus-5 after being a minus-4 in his last five games.

Derek Dorsett and Grant Clitsome scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost all seven road games this season, and are winless in 12 straight (0-10-2) away from Nationwide Arena, a streak that dates to March 19, 2011.

Voraceck was dealt by Columbus to the Flyers on the eve of the 2011 NHL Draft, along with the eighth pick in the draft -- which Philadelphia used on Couturier -- in exchange for Carter. Carter has just 3 assists in five games, and watched Saturday from a private suite as he missed his ninth straight game with a broken right foot.

"I'm happy, but we're happy we won the game," said Voracek. "I think we played a really solid hockey game. … Obviously I'm happy. It was tough to play against my friends, but it's a hockey game. I was very excited for this game coming up and I'm really happy for my team."

The Flyers led 2-0 just 3:09 into the game on goals by van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr when Voracek set up Talbot for a goal that made it 3-0.

Giroux's goal just 1:28 later made it 4-0, and then Voracek closed the first period with a goal through an Eric Wellwood screen with just 35.0 seconds left. It was Voracek's first goal in 10 games.

"I was happy I scored," said Voraceck. "It's been 10 games. It's been a tough stretch."

Despite not finding the back of the net, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette could sense a good game was coming for Voracek.

"I think sometimes you can see things when they're starting to come," said Laviolette, "when a player starts to get comfortable and the scoring chances are there, they have the puck a lot and make plays. Maybe the results of what the player might be looking for to help the team win with their offensive production isn't there yet, but you can see it's going to come. I think that's what I've been saying for the last couple days, that he was close, that he was doing the right things, and it was nice to see him get some of those rewards tonight."

While the Flyers celebrated their biggest opening period since a 5-0 opening 20 minutes against the Maple Leafs on April 3, 2009, the Blue Jackets were attempting to keep things from getting worse.

"We were obviously embarrassed and embarrassed very quickly in that first period," said Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel. "Nine odd-man rushes within the first 14 minutes -- it's not the way you play the game."

Goalie Steve Mason, pulled for rookie backup Allen York after allowing Talbot's goal that made it 3-0, was back in net to start the second, but didn't fare much better in the final 40 minutes.

Couturier finished a shorthanded 3-on-1 rush by completing a give-and-go with Braydon Coburn to make it 6-0, and then Wayne Simmonds and Matt Carle scored 20 seconds apart late in the period to make it 8-0 after two.

Mason finished with 21 saves on 28 shots, but he had few chances on a night where his teammates gave him little support.

"He (Mason) could probably look at his teammates tonight, because I don't think they gave either one of those goaltenders much of a chance," said Arniel.

Dorsett finally got the Jackets on the board when his wrist shot beat Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov at 13:13 of the third, spoiling Bryzgalov's bid for his second shutout of the season and 25th of his career.

Couturier scored one final goal for the Flyers, tipping a Voracek pass behind Mason at 16:27 for the first 2-goal game of his NHL career.

It also was the sixth 3-point game of Voracek's career, and first time he's done it since March 28, 2010 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Clitsome's first of the season closed the scoring and capped a third period that saw the Blue Jackets out-shoot the Flyers 21-6, but even that couldn't salve the night's wounds.

"This is definitely embarrassing for us as a team," said Jackets captain Rick Nash. "It's tough times right now. … Guys are embarrassed of our effort that we put out for the coaching staff, the management. It's just not good enough.
"It was undisciplined hockey."

A season that had so much promise for the Blue Jackets now sees them 30th in the League with a 2-11-1 record.

"We've hit a lot of bottoms this year," said Arniel, "and this was another big one."

Meanwhile, the Flyers go into a three-day break prior to a two-game road swing through Florida on a big-time positive.

"You want to feel good going into these breaks," said van Riemsdyk, who had a strong return from missing Thursday's shootout loss to New Jersey with a lower-body injury. "We have some big games coming up. This gives some banged up guys a chance to get some rest and go from there."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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