WINNIPEG, MB - The struggling Philadelphia Flyers scored twice in a 2:21 span in the second period, and hung on for a 2-1 over the Winnipeg Jets, snapping their five-game losing streak.
Claude Giroux and Andrew Macdonald would score for the Flyers (35-23-11) who now sit tied with the Washington Capitals for second in the Metropolitan Division. Patrik Laine would once again be the only Jet to find the back of the net in the game, putting an end to their four-game winning streak. It’s the first regulation loss for Winnipeg in their last nine road games. (7-1-1)
Petr Mrazek, who was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with Detroit Feb. 19, stopped 27 shots, many of them high-quality, to end his personal four-game winless streak (0-3-1) with the win.
For the first time in three games, Laine didn’t score the opening goal of the hockey game. With a delayed penalty coming to the Jets, Flyers captain Claude Giroux let a wrist shot go from the left faceoff dot that beat Hellebuyck over the glove to open the scoring 5:40 into the second period. The goal was Giroux’s 24th of the season and extended his point streak to six games (2G, 5A).
The Flyers would add to their lead just over two minutes later after what looked to be a remarkable save from Hellebuyck was determined to be a goal for Philadelphia. After a rebound off the back boards Macdonald gathered the rebound and fired it quickly towards the net. Hellebuyck slid over to make the save with his glove but the puck had crossed the line before Hellebuyck pulled it back out. Play continued but the horn sounded a short time later as the NHL wanted to have a look at the play, which determined the puck had crossed the line, giving Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.
Laine would extend his point streak to 11 games midway through the third period with his 40th goal of the season on the power play. Blake Wheeler made a perfect pass to Laine’s wheel-house at the left circle where Laine one-timed a slap shot past Petr Mrazek to get Winnipeg within one, trailing 2-1. The goal tied Laine with Alexander Ovechkin for most in the NHL this season with 40, while also giving him 76 career goals as a teenager, passing Sidney Crosby and tying Wayne Gretzky and Brian Bellows for third on the all-time list.
Winnipeg was unable to generate many more chances the rest of the way, and when they did Mrazek had an answer.
The Jets were without both Toby Enstrom and Dmitry Kulikov for the contest who were both out with injury. Joe Morrow replaced Kulikov while Tucker Poolman was recalled from the Manitoba Moose and reached Philadelphia just in time for the game and was thrown into action to take the spot of Enstrom.
The Jets will conclude their season-long six-game road trip with a set of back-to-back games beginning with Washington Monday night, then off to Nashville to take on the Western Conference-leading Predators on Tuesday. The Jets sit six points behind Nashville for top spot in the Central Division.
Bill Burfoot, Manitoba Post