PHILADELPHIA – They might be going to the playoffs but they’re sure not making it look easy.
Wayne Simmonds and Andrew MacDonald flubbed clearing chances in the last 10 seconds of Sunday’s game against Boston and the Bruins eventually got the tying goal from Patrice Bergeron with 3.8 seconds to play.
But Claude Giroux scored on a breakaway at 3:39 of overtime for a 4-3 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
Before that, it looked like Travis Konecny might be the game’s headliner.
Konecny scored one goal and assisted on the first of two goals by Giroux (which gave the Flyers captain a new career high of 94 points).
With the victory, the Flyers move into a virtual tie with Columbus for third in the Metropolitan Division standings (the Blue Jackets hold the tiebreaker) and eight points up on idle Florida for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
If nothing else, this was evidence the Flyers are a resilient team which can handle adversity.
They could have folded the tent and possibly settled for a point but they didn’t.
Giroux executed a dipsy-doodle move – by way of faking a between-the-legs maneuver — on goalie Anton Khudobin and the Flyers had their 40th win of the season.
It was Jake Voracek who skated down the Flyers bench after the Bergeron goal and told them to keep their heads up.
Then Voracek’s long pass from inside the Flyers’ blue line sent Giroux on his way. It was Voracek’s 300th career assist as a Flyer.
“I was just trying to freeze him,’’ Giroux said after the game. “It kind of flipped on me but I was able to put it in. It was kind of fun.
“It’s an important point. They’re a good team in the third period, they really came at us and I think we did a good job of defending well.’’
To have someone like Voracek remind the players that all was not lost played its part, too.
“You hate getting scored on in those situations,’’ said MacDonald, mindful of a painful 3-2 loss in Boston on March 8 when Brad Marchand scored with only 22 seconds left to break a 2-2 tie. “We held our ground, we didn’t get down. We just said let’s regroup here.
“Once the period ended, he (Voracek) said, ‘let’s go, let’s go, let’s regroup and get right back at it.’ I think the guys in overtime did a real good job of not letting that play into how they played the overtime.’’
Added coach Dave Hakstol: “I think it’s effective when that (pep talk) comes from veteran guys. And Jake is one of the guys who skated up and down the bench, (said) a couple calm words, refocus and the guys went out and did a real good job. Jake ends up making the play to send ‘G’ on the breakaway.’’
The Flyers were sailing along twice with a two-goal lead before the late dramatics.
Konecny pulled a nasty double-deke move for the Flyers’ second goal just 25 seconds into the second period for a 2-0 lead.
Nolan Patrick scored at 5:31 of the third off an Oskar Lindblom feed for the Flyers’ third goal.
Mrazek came up with several big stops in this tight game, none bigger than one on Pastranak in the first period. The goalie flashed out his glove at the last instant to rob Pastranak’s shot from the lower edge of the right circle.
That save led to a rush the other way for Giroux’s goal by way of a Konecny assist.
“I had a bad turnover there and it was nice to get that back,’’ Konecny said. “He (Mrazek) kind of saved us there. I had that turnover there and he made a huge save and then it comes back the other way.’’
Mrazek called the Pastranak stop a “lucky save’’ but it had the desired effect.
“We had a chance to clear it (at the end) but that’s hockey and I’m sure we’re going to learn from it,’’ Mrazek said. “We have to stay positive if we want to win games like that. You have to forget that goal and play the overtime the best you can.’’
The Flyers have beaten most of the NHL’s top teams now, so they should have some confidence going into the playoffs no matter who they play.
“Jake said there’s still overtime, don’t be down,’’ Konecny said. “To get those two points and the momentum swing out of the game is huge. We’ve been playing really good hockey the past couple weeks. So we just have to keep playing good.
The Flyers are 5-0-4 in their last nine games. . .Giroux’s second goal was his 29th, a new career high. . .The Flyers ended a four-game losing streak to the Bruins dating back to Nov. 29, 2016. . .Konecny has 18 goals in his last 33 games after just six in his first 45. . .The Flyers entered the game 0-2 vs. Boston but the win keeps their streak of getting at least one point vs. the Bruins each year since 1989-90.