In an exciting game Saturday night, the Philadelphia Flyers prevailed 4-3 in a shootout over former goaltender and resident headcase Ilya Bryzgalov and his Edmonton Oilers. The Flyers won for the first time in 12 seasons tonight in Edmonton, and Wayne Simmonds scored two goals on the night – the third straight game he has done so. Steve Mason stopped just 13 of 16 shots, but the Flyers' offense was just potent enough in regulation – and Michael Raffl was just flashy enough in the shootout – to give the Flyers the win on the evening.
Tonight's first period belonged to the Oilers. They opened the scoring just 32 seconds into the game, as young phenom Taylor Hall beat Mason to give the Oilers an almost immediate 1-0 lead. Three and a half minutes later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wristed one past Mason to give the Oilers the 2-0 lead, and to give them all the momentum in the opening period. The Flyers looked very flat for much of the first period, and did not get the game off to a good start.
The Flyers' fortune changed in the second period, much in part due to the play of Wayne Simmonds. With 7 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games, Simmonds continued to inflict offensive damage tonight, and scored his first goal just over three and a half minutes into the second period. He'd add another one just after the halfway point of the period to tie the game up and erase the early deficit. His second goal came on the power play, with some tic-tac-toe passing by linemates Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell. And while Simmonds was the only one to light the lamp, the Flyers came alive in the second period, picking up 14 shots on net compared to just 3 for Edmonton. The Oilers had just 11 shots through two periods. Also, tonight's game was Simmonds' third straight two-goal game.
The Flyers came out and looked to be in control of the momentum in a tie game, but about halfway through the period, Kimmo Timonen was called for hooking. The Oilers would make the Flyers pay here, as David Perron wristed his 16th of the year past Steve Mason on just the Oilers' 14th shot of the night to give them a 3-2 lead. But the Oilers would soon squander this lead, committing two penalties to give the Flyers some quality 5 on 3 time. The Flyers wasted little time, as Scott Hartnell picked up his 7th of the year on a tip in from a shot blasted by Kimmo Timonen from the point. The Flyers had nearly two minutes of 5 on 4 time remaining after the goal, but were unable to convert and take their first lead of the night.
Hartnell's goal ended a nine game goal drought, and was absolutely crucial for the Flyers. For the Oilers, Taylor Hall had a breakaway opportunity that hit the post, which was a huge break for the Flyers. The Oilers hit three posts in the third period alone, keeping the Flyers in the game. The teams went into overtime, where the Oilers had a couple of opportunities, but were unable to convert.
In the shootout, Jordan Eberle started by beating Steve Mason, then Claude Giroux followed up by making Bryzgalov look rather silly. Mason came up with a huge save on Sam Gagner, setting the stage for Michael Raffl, of all players. Raffl showed an incredible amount of patience and beat Bryzgalov top shelf on a delayed shot to give the Flyers a very fortunate 4-3 win in the shootout, and two valuable points. The shootout attempt was Raffl's first career attempt – and it was surely a successful one.
The Flyers won in Edmonton tonight for the first time since March of 2001. They only allowed 16 shots, but Mason was a little shaky tonight, allowing three goals on the night. Wayne Simmonds had his third straight two-goal game, tying a Flyers record. The Flyers also scored three power play goals on the night, and took full advantage of their power play time. They play next in Vancouver on Monday night against the Canucks.
Edmonton – 0:32: Taylor Hall (15), No Assists
Edmonton – 4:02: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (10), Assisted by Taylor Hall (20) and Andrew Ference (5)
Edmonton – 11:52: David Perron (16), Assisted by Jordan Eberle (20) and Justin Schultz (11)Claude Giroux, Edmonton Oilers, Hockey, Jakub Voracek, Kimmo Timonen, NHL, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Flyers, Steve Mason, Taylor Hall, Wayne Simmonds