PHILADELPHIA – There was a time this season when four power-play goals was about a month’s work for the Flyers.
Saturday, they reached that total in a single game.They connected four times with the man advantage, the first time they had achieved that many since a game against Pittsburgh way back on Dec. 13, 2008.
The quartet of goals helped the Flyers rally for a 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center, extending the Flyers’ winning streak to seven games.
A goal by Nolan Patrick at 2:01 of overtime provided the winner.
“It was a pretty wild overtime,’’ said Patrick with a grin. “Some unbelievable plays by JVR (James van Riemsdyk), winning battles. He set me up there, so a lot of credit to him.’’
Patrick missed a somewhat open net in the last few seconds of regulation time so the OT winner was some nice justice.
“Yeah, the one I missed there, that stick is not around anymore,’’ Patrick said.
The Flyers have now scored six power-play goals in their last two games after getting just 19 in their first 50 games.
Wayne Simmonds scored with 8:58 to play to tie the score at 4-4. He used a van Riemsdyk screen to put the puck in the net.
What’s changed with the power play?
“I think we had the process, we just weren’t getting the goals,’’ Simmonds said. “The last couple games, they’ve been coming.’’
Travis Konecny, who scored with the extra man just 27 seconds after Edmonton took a 4-2 lead with a shorthanded goal in the third period, believes the Flyers making some changes on the power-play units have proved productive.
“You have to switch some stuff up,’’ he said. “I think we’re funneling some pucks to the net, just getting some good bounces now.’’
Sean Couturier opened the game with a power-play goal and likes the way his team is responding with the man advantage now.
“The power play did a good job and so did the PK (penalty kill, which blanked Edmonton on three tries),’’ Couturier said. “Tonight was a special teams win.’’
Edmonton, which had been off for 10 days, dominated play early in the game.
Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart, who was named NHL rookie of the month for January on Friday, had his hands full.
In just his first two periods of work alone he had to face a whopping 35 shots.
For the game, he stopped a career-high 40 of 44 shots.
Couturier gave the Flyers a brief 1-0 lead in the first period.
With Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins off for goaltender interference, Couturier finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek with a short tap-in past Cam Talbot at 3:10.
The Oilers countered with the first of three unanswered goals at 8:03. Ty Rattie did the honors and then the Oilers made it 2-1 when Connor McDavid outraced three Flyer defenders and converted a shot past Hart at 17:33.
Edmonton extended its lead to 3-1 at 8:19 of the second as defenseman Adam Larsson found himself open in the left circle and beat Hart short side.
Giroux countered for the Flyers at 16:54. With Edmonton’s Kyle Brodziak off, Giroux’s shot from the right circle made it past a van Riemsdyk screen for his 16th goal of the season.
In the third period, Edmonton jumped back in front by two goals when Zack Kassian scored shorthanded at 4:07.
While on the same power play, Konecny scored at 4:34 to make it a one-goal game again.
It was just the second time this season the Flyers have scored multiple power-play goals in consecutive games. The last time was back in early October against San Jose and Ottawa.
“Confidence helps on the power play,’’ Giroux said. “You make plays, you keep it simple. Power play hasn’t won us a lot of games this year but tonight we were able to connect on a few plays. It gave us momentum.’’
Added coach Scott Gordon: “There’s been a lot of games where we haven’t scored where we should have scored (on the power play). We’ve made some changes and they’ve been positive so far. Tonight was a great job by the power-play guys.’’
Shayne Gostisbehere returned to action after sitting out three games with a bruised foot. . .Giroux played in his 791th game, moving him past Brian Propp for third place on the Flyers’ alltime list. . .The Flyers return to action on Monday when they play host to the Vancouver Canucks.
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