Flyers top Oilers for second straight win
EDMONTON, Alberta — The Philadelphia Flyers came to Alberta knowing they needed to do whatever was necessary to win. They certainly weren’t entertaining, but they were effective, winning two in row.
After breaking a 10-game losing skid with a win over the Flames in Calgary on Monday, the Flyers continued their turnaround with a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Weal, Dale Weise and Michael Raffl also scored for Philadelphia, which was on an 0-5-5 run before Monday. Goalie Brian Elliott made 23 saves for the Flyers (10-11-7).
Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the goals for the Oilers (11-15-2). Edmonton goalie Laurent Brossoit, who gave up five goals in his most recent start prior to Wednesday, stopped 29 shots.
The Flyers held the Oilers to just 25 shots in what was a grinding sort of game. Philadelphia got a breakaway marker, and the Oilers scored on an odd-man rush, but for the most part, shots came from the outside and Elliott wasn’t called upon to make an outstanding save until the third period.
Elliott said boring, winning hockey is just fine with him.
“We talked about it. These aren’t our fans out here, we don’t have to entertain them,” he said. “We just have to come away with the two points. We are playing that good road-style hockey when you have nothing, you have to get it in deep and live to fight another day, and I think our guys are really buying into that right now.”
Brossoit started well, stopping all the shots he faced in the first period as the Flyers outshot the home team 13-7.
The Oilers opened the scoring at 3:41 of the second period. With Edmonton short-handed, Connor McDavid and Draisaitl stormed up the ice on a two-on-one break. McDavid slipped a backhand pass to Draisaitl, and the German got the puck past Elliott before the goalie could get his pad across to stop the shot.
Philadelphia responded on its fourth power-play of the game, scoring on its 22nd shot on Brossoit. Weal was on the doorstep to tip home a pass from Sean Couturier at 8:53 of the middle period.
Oilers defenseman Matthew Benning admitted it was a backbreaker to give up a power-play goal so soon after scoring a short-handed marker, and he took the blame for the defensive breakdown.
“I thought our penalty kill did a good job, and the one they scored, I’ve got to get in that stick lane and take that pass away,” Benning said.
Weal had a different perspective on the goal.
“That felt good, it’s been a long time coming,” Weal said. “It’s not been for a lack of hard work and creating chances. It’s nice when you can get out with special players like that and I was able to find a good spot and (Couturier) made a good play to find me.”
The Flyers then scored on shot No. 24. Weise’s 25-footer trickled through Brossoit’s legs at 14:45 of the second.
“I battled hard,” said Brossoit, who has given up five goals or more in four of his nine appearances this season. “There were a lot of improvements, a couple of things that I wanted to make sure I did tonight, and did.
“Having said that, I want to give a little bit more. Maybe if that second goal was eliminated, it would eliminate some of the pressure on our forwards. In hindsight, things like that are what I want to eliminate from my game. There were a lot of good things I felt I did out there, but the win is priority number one.”
Weise said, “It definitely feels good, definitely the way we played, too, it’s a pretty complete effort from our team. Getting contributions from everyone, it’s going to be huge if we want to keep stringing some wins together.”
Just 10 seconds into the third period, the Oilers stormed into the Flyers’ zone, and defenseman Darnell Nurse clanged a shot off the crossbar.
At 4:06, Raffl was sent off on a breakaway thanks to a great defense-breaking pass from Jakub Voracek, and he put the puck over Brossoit’s glove to make it 3-1.
Nugent-Hopkins made it close with 6:40 left on the clock, banging home a rebound from a Patrick Maroon shot. McDavid had a great chance to tie the game with two minutes left, but Elliott made a save after the Oilers star dashed around two Flyers.
Simmonds got an empty-netter with 39 seconds left to seal the game.
NOTES: The Flyers and Oilers wrapped up their season series. The Flyers beat the Oilers 2-1 in Philadelphia in October. ... The Flyers placed D Brandon Manning and G Michal Neuvirth on injured reserve hours before the game, and they recalled D TJ Brennan and G Alex Lyon from their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. ... Brennan was a healthy scratch along with C Jori Lehtera, while Lyon backed up starter Brian Elliott. ... Oilers G Cam Talbot, currently on injured reserve, is expected to start skating later this week. ... The Oilers scratched D Brandon Davidson and LW Nathan Walker, who were both acquired on the waiver wire earlier this week. Also scratched was LW Anton Slepyshev.