Nothing seems to come easy for the Flyers these days, so they have to come up with some creative ways to pull games out of the fire.
Such was the case Tuesday night when they took what appeared to be a comfortable 2-0 lead over the New Jersey Devils. But the Devils rallied to tie the score in the second period.
So the Flyers needed timely goals from Nolan Patrick and Joel Farabee in the third period to forge a 5-3 win at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Patrick’s goal at 7:03 put the Flyers ahead for good.
The goal was set up on a crafty play by Claude Giroux, who circled around a Devil defender, then spotted Patrick rushing down the slot for a shot past goalie Scott Wedgewood.
Then Farabee scored at 12:36 with assists from Scott Laughton and Oskar Lindblom. Ivan Provorov added an empty netter before the Devils scored with 1:08 to play to account for the final margin.
It was the Flyers’ first road win of the season after regulation-time and shootout losses in Boston last week.
Coach Alain Vigneault sounded relieved during a post-game media Zoom call.
He started by giving a lot of credit to goaltender Brian Elliott.
“I thought that initially the difference was ‘Moose’ (Elliott) in goal,’’ Vigneault said. “He made some big saves. He permitted us to find our game a little bit.
“For the first 12 minutes of the second period we were real good, attacking. Playing fast. Then they got that first goal. They got a little momentum off that. But I like the way we were playing and in the third period we found a way to get the job done.’’
For the second time in their last three games, the Flyers took a 2-0 lead and couldn’t hold it. The Devils rallied for the tie before Patrick came through.
A pair of James van Riemsdyk power-play goals provided the two-goal cushion before the Flyers surrendered it.
Van Riemsdyk’s second goal of the game at the 59-second mark of the second period gave the Flyers their 2-0 lead.
As he did on his first goal in the first period, JVR tipped in a Provorov point shot past Wedgewood.
On van Riemsdyk’s first goal, he actually was able to adjust and tip Provorov’s shot after it nicked off a Devil defenseman’s stick.
It’s a bit of a comeback year for JVR, who’s off to a hot start.
“You try to use the time in the offseason to prepare yourself the best you can play,’’ he said. “Sometimes you get a little bit of puck luck. I’m just trying to go out there every game and be consistent.’’
Jake Voracek’s assist on the play was the 400th of his Flyers’ career. He recently moved past Mark Recchi into fifth place on the team’s all-time list.
New Jersey finally broke through on a goal by Michael McLeod at 11:59 of the second period. With a delayed penalty call about to be whistled on Provorov, Michael McLeod got a short shot past Elliot. That ended Elliott’s scoreless streak at 93 minutes, 10 seconds.
Veteran Travis Zajac tied the score at 2-2 with a goal at 16:43. Andreas Johnsson did most of the work on the play, lugging the puck into the slot and allowing Zajac to finish the play off in front.
Giroux’s set-up for the Patrick goal might have been the play of the night and it came on the occasion when No. 28 passed Hall of Famer Bob Clarke for games played as a Flyer captain.
“Tonight he broke the record for longest-serving captain,’’ Vigneault said. “I thought ‘G’ competed real hard. He set the tone. That’s the type of work ethic that we need.’’
Added Patrick: “He’s a nice guy to play with, he sees the ice so well.’’
Giroux displayed his usual modesty.
“You try to show up every game,’’ he said. “With the results we had in Boston, we wanted to make sure we got a win tonight. I feel like we had a step forward from the last two games tonight.’’
The Flyers entered the game surrendering an average of 35.5 shots per game and initiating only 23.7 per game. That 11.8 differential was the worst in the NHL. Going into Tuesday night’s game, the Flyers had been outshot in each of their first six games. . .Second career two-PP goal game for JVR. Also his 31st multi-goal game, including five hat tricks. His four power-play goals lead the NHL. His five overall goals are tied for the league lead as well, pending Tuesday night’s results.