In an effort to shake up his slumping team, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol changed his top line, moving Wayne Simmonds to right wing to join Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. Jake Voracek moved to the second line with Valtteri Filppula and Michael Raffl.
For at least one game, the move couldn’t have worked better as the Flyers snapped a 10-game losing streak with Monday’s 5-2 win at Calgary.
The second line was hugely productive with all three constantly putting pressure on the Flames defense. The Flyers jumped out to a 4-1 lead and Voracek had three assists. He was by far the most active and effective player on the ice.
Late in the first period the second line provided the Flyers first goal when Filppula scored on a rebound. On the goal it appeared as both Raffl and Filppula both got their stick on the puck and Raffl was originally awarded the goal. A key was the play of Voracek who, not only passed it over to Filppula, but also occupied Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton, allowing Filppula to be unmarked at the left post.
Give Andrew MacDonald credit for shooting the puck on goal before Voracek got a stick on it, directing it to Filppula.
Flyers goalie Brian Elliott, returning to Calgary, where played last year, was a difference maker. He kept the Flyers in it early by making several key saves, but he’d certainly like to have the first goal back that Calgary scored. Elliott’s inability to control a rebound, resulted in the first goal, by an unlikely source. Troy Brouwer tapped in the rebound off Elliott’s pads. It was his first goal of the year and snapped a string of 32 games without a goal.
Elliott came up big, saving the Flyers after Gloucester Catholic product Johnny Gaudreau stole an Ivan Provorov pass and skated in on goal. Elliott played the angle well and made the save. For the most part the Flyers did a good job not giving the speedy Gaudreau much room to operate.
Former Flyer and future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, 45, isn’t a very good two-way player, but he still has the ability to put pressure on an opposing defense. In the second period he fired a wrist shot that went off the mask of Elliott. Jagr, who entered the game leading the Flames with a plus-7 rating, remains one of the strongest players with the puck and among the most difficult to take it away from him.
Simmonds off the schneid
Voracek set up the Flyers fourth goal, sending a pass on the power play to Sean Couturier who dropped it off to Simmonds. Having scored just once in his previous 18 games, Simmonds slammed it on from a right angle.
Flyers rookie center Nolan Patrick has to be more careful with the puck. A turnover by Patrick led to the second goal when the Flyers couldn’t clear the puck out of their zone after a prolonged possession by Calgary. Eventually recent Flyer-killer Sean Monahan score on a wrist shot through a screen. It was Monahan who had a hat trick in the Flames 5-4 overtime win over the Flyers last month.