Flyers' Simmonds showing last year not fluke

Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

You could make a case for Wayne Simmonds being the Flyers’ MVP in the season’s first six weeks.

The hard-working, 24-year-old right winger is showing that his breakout 2011-12 season wasn’t a fluke.

A year ago, Simmonds scored a career-high 28 goals in his first season with the Flyers. In 20 games this season, he has nine goals, which is tied for the team lead with Jake Voracek.

Simmonds, who plays every game with an edge, scored what turned out to be the winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over visiting Ottawa. The Ontario native has scored the winner in the Flyers’ last three victories.

Taking a slick feed from Brayden Schenn, Simmonds scored on a second-period breakaway, making a clever move to beat goalie Ben Bishop.

"Wayne's had a terrific start to the season,” coach Peter Laviolette said after the Flyers improved to 11-11-1. “He does a lot for our team and that was a nice goal today. Typically his goals are with one or two guys draped around him in the crease and he's trying to somehow bang them in, but that was a goal scorer’s goal today and it was pretty."

Simmonds, who missed three early-season games with a concussion, predicted there will be many more low-scoring games the rest of the lockout-shortened year.

“Those are the games we have to get comfortable with, obviously. Especially trying to make a playoff push and all,” he said. “I think a lot of games going down to the back half of the season are going to be like that.”

Added Simmonds: “We’ve been fighting to get to .500 for a long time and we can’t stop now. We just have to keep going ahead.”

The Flyers will aim to go over the .500 mark _ and register their first three-game winning streak of the season _ when they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

Breakaways. Winger Harry Zolnierczyk will have a hearing Sunday for his first-period hit that leveled Ottawa defenseman Mike Lundin and knocked him out of the game….Flyers' defenseman Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) may return to the lineup this week....Rookie Tye McGinn had orbital-bone surgery and CSN said he will be out for four weeks _ two weeks longer than GM Paul Holmgren’s original projection…..Erik Gustafsson, who suffered a shin injury in the previous game, played 17:38 and blocked two shots....The Flyers will not practice Sunday because they will participate in the Flyers Wives Carnival at the WFC from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. They will practice Monday in Voorhees at 11 a.m.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.