As their season reached the quarter pole Tuesday night, three Flyers scored their first goals of the year.
None was bigger than Kimmo Timonen’s.
Timonen, who also had two assists, snapped a 2-2 tie with 8:30 left, helping the revived Flyers outlast the Ottawa Senators, 5-2, at the Wells Fargo Center.
As a result, the Flyers _ quite amazingly when you consider their 1-7 start _ moved to within two points of a playoff spot in the mediocre (we’re being kind) Metropolitan Division.
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Timonen, a 38-year-old defenseman who has struggled in the first six weeks, maneuvered around the defense and scored on a backhander from out front for what proved to be the game-winner.
“Sometimes I take a chance to go in there and see what happens, and this time they were late and there was nobody coming on to me all the way,” Timonen said.
Timonen had more points Tuesday _ three _ than he had all season (two).
Sean Couturier and Adam Hall (empty-netter) also scored their first goals, while Claude Giroux deposited his second and Wayne Simmonds had his third.
The Flyers were on their heels in the third period until a video review (see story) ruled that Ottawa did not score the game-leading goal midway through the third period. About two minutes later, Timonen and Simmonds scored 23 seconds apart.
The Flyers outshot the Senators, 16-9, in the third period.
“It was a very good response by our team,” said coach Craig Berube, whose Flyers are 8-7-2 since he replaced Peter Laviolette. “…It’s encouraging.”
The Flyers (8-10-2) have recovered nicely from their worst start in franchise history. Since beginning the year 1-7, they are 7-3-2. The Flyers have very winnable home games against Buffalo on Thursday and the Islanders on Saturday. If they can win those games, they will be at .500 for the first time this season.
Hail, Hall. Hall was 11 for 13 (85 percent) on faceoffs and has won 41 of 48 (85.4 percent) in the last six games. For the season, he has won 63.3 percent of his draws.
Hall had his first goal in 64 games and his first as a Flyer.
Quotable. Simmonds on the team’s hot streak: “We’re starting to get bounces and now we’re getting more confident _ and we’re getting better going late into games.”
Breakaways. Couturier on having the weight lifted after scoring his first goal: "I feel 20 pounds lighter."...Acrobatic goalie Steve Mason stopped a penalty shot among his 32 saves….The Flyers had a season-high 42 shots…Luke Schenn registered five hits…..Timonen was plus-3, while Braydon Coburn, Steve Downie, Couturier, and Matt Read were each plus-2….Zac Rinaldo played 2:34 on the penalty kill, reducing Giroux’s PK time (1:02) and keeping him fresh on the power play and even-strength situations….In their last five games, the Flyers have outscored their opponents, 12-1, while at even-strength….Couturier ended a 25-game goal-less streak, and Timonen snapped a 21-game drought…..The Flyers are 5-1-2 since a fight-filled 7-0 loss to Washington.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.