Atkinson goal the winner but Hayes the hero

Kevin Hayes

PHILADELPHIA – Cam Atkinson likes to shoot the puck and that’s why he was all smiles on Tuesday night.

Atkinson scored 45 seconds into overtime to give the Flyers a 2-1 win over Calgary. The Flyers, 8-4-2, are now 6-0-0 after a loss.

Sean Couturier set up Atkinson’s goal off a two–on-one rush.

In the second period, Kevin Hayes suffered an undisclosed injury in a collision with Elias Lindholm and was out for the rest of the period. But he returned for the third.

Also injured in the game was Patrick Brown (strained thumb)

, who was filling in for Oskar Lindblom (healthy scratch).

The Flyers, held to two goals or less in their five previous games, tied the score on a goal by Hayes in the second period. Rasmus Ristolainen made a nice play at the blue line to keep the puck in, then Hayes tried a cross-slot pass which was blocked. The puck came straight back to Hayes, who fired it past goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Hayes was lauded for his goal by his teammates. It’s been a tough year for the Boston product, who lost his brother, Jimmy, in August, then had to undergo a second abdominal surgery. This was just his second game back.

“There’s no doubt that had a big significance personally,’’ coach Alain Vigneault said. “With him, his family, their close ones and what they’ve had to go through. It’s been so challenging but that group is so positive. Hopefully it (the goal) is the start of more to come.’’

Atkinson hinted it was an emotional moment for the whole team.

“You could see it (the emotion) on my face,’’ he said. “I was the first guy to hug him. Got the puck for him. We’ll all remember this for a long, long time. It was special.’’

Added Hayes: “It was a big goal. Got the puck from Cam, going to give  the puck to Jimmy’s kid. It will be probably in my memory forever.’’

Goalie Carter Hart again put on a show against the Flames, who beat the Flyers, 4-0, in Calgary last month. Hart entered the game with a .931 save percentage.

Noah Hanifan gave Calgary a 1-0 lead with a goal in the first period.


>Flyers showing resilience


That 6-0-0 mark after a loss leads the NHL. What does it say about the Flyers’ resilience?

“That’s been our mentality,’’ said Ivan Provorov. “Stuff’s going to happen. Some games are not going to go your way but it can’t happen two games in a row. Every time we go out there we try to win. We know we’re not going to go 82-0. We’rej ust trying to get as many wins as we can.’’

Vigneault indicated this was just about the toughest win all season.

“We said to everybody, this is going to be a hard game,’’ the coach said. “It was hard, it was physical, it was chippy. We talked about making the (Flyers Hall of Fame) alumni proud. Just to play like they did – not pretty but hard work.’’


>Short shots


The Flyers return to action Thursday at home vs. Tampa. . .The game started about 45 minutes late due to the Flyers Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Paul Holmgren and Rick Tocchet. . .In warm-ups, the Flyers wore No. 17 and No. 22 jerseys to honor the two players.

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About Wayne Fish 2471 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.