Give the Flyers — a team that can be both infuriating and amazing IN THE SAME GAME — credit for digging out of the worst start in franchise history.
They began the year 1-7, but after nearly three months, 35 games, a coaching change and some lineup-tinkering, they finally went over the .500 mark for the first time this season on Thursday night.
Flyers 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 4.
The Flyers (16-15-4) scored all five of their goals in the third period, including the game-winner by Claude Giroux on a remarkable backhander as he was falling down with 1:38 remaining in regulation.
Giroux had two goals in the final 3:46, and he collected four third-period points. He has 10 points in the last five games and has boosted his Olympic chances.
Meanwhile, the Flyers have boosted their playoff chances. Since their 1-7 start, they have gone 15-8-4 and climbed into third place in the Metro Division.
When Blake Comeau gave Columbus a 4-2 lead with 11:25 left, the Flyers looked beaten.
Earlier this year, winger Jake Voracek said, the Flyers would have “collapsed after that fourth goal. But now we got a little upset and we stepped up. We didn’t want to lose that game. We kind of knew in the back of our minds that we could win this game, so that’s exactly what we did.”
What they did was score three goals in a late 3:01 span, started by Erik Gustafsson’s tally on a rebound with 4:39 to play.
The Flyers dominated the first period, but trailed, 1-0. They were awful in the second period and fell into a 3-0 hole.
They then erupted for five goals in a stunning 14:02 span of the final period.
“It’s a big win for the club,” Giroux said. “The first period was all right, the second period was kind of embarrassing but you know we stuck with it, and for this club, it’s a really big win.”
The teams will have a rematch Saturday night in Columbus.
“We blew it here tonight and we’re looking forward to redeeming ourselves at home,” Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson said.
Breakaways. Brayden Schenn, showing no ill effects from crashing head-first into the wall on Tuesday, had a game-high five shots and won 53 percent of his faceoffs…The Flyers had five third-period goals for the first time since 2010 in a 7-2 victory at Tampa Bay….Voracek, who was slowed by a back injury early in the season, had three points; he has six goals and 10 points in his last six games….Giroux and Mark Streit (two assists) were each plus-3....Ray Emery is expected to start Saturday in Columbus.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.