Goalie Michal Neuvirth was outstanding, the Flyers’ new-look top line and their power play continued to excel, and a four-goal second-period eruption turned a tight game into a rout Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Put it all together and it produced a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers, lifting the Flyers’ record to 4-2.
“We’re confident,” said defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere after collecting a goal and an assist. “We’re riding high, but we have to keep an even keel and keep going.”
Neuvirth stopped 40 of 41 shots and notched his first win in two starts this season. Afterward, he was presented with a gaudy Ric Flair robe, decorated with sequins and created by the daughter of Flyers equipment manager Derek Settlemyre, that the team gives to its player of the game.
“They had quality chances and he shut the door, and that’s what you need from your goalie,” center Sean Couturier said.
The night’s only negative: Star right winger Wayne Simmonds, who had a pretty assist and five shots, left the game in the third period with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Simmonds won a second-period fight against Micheal Haley.
The Flyers’ top line, which combined for four goals and 10 points in its home-opening 8-2 win Saturday over Washington, put Philadelphia ahead, 1-0, on a hard-working goal by Couturier with 18 minutes, 55 seconds left in the second period.
Couturier, stationed down low, took a clever push pass from Jake Voracek, and went backhand to forehand and beat Roberto Luongo for his fourth goal in six games. It was Voracek’s 10th assist, putting him among the NHL leaders.
Six and a half minutes later, Gostisbehere’s left-circle shot made it 2-0 after Simmonds’ slick feed from near the right boards. Defenseman Robert Hagg (plus-3) started the goal-scoring sequence and registered the first NHL point of his career.
“I saw I had some ice and the coaches have been telling us to get up ice,” said Gostisbehere, who now has a goal and nine assists in six games — and his 10 points may lead NHL defensemen pending Tuesday’s results. “I threw it to Simmer and just kept going. He made a great play.”
Before the second period ended, Claude Giroux (power play) and Dale Weise added goals as the Flyers built a 4-0 cushion. The Flyers have scored a total of 10 goals in their last three second periods.
Giroux, who had his 400th career assist in the game and won eight of 10 faceoffs, scored after Val Filppula sent him away on a breakaway while Gostisbehere and Simmonds took turns jostling with Derek MacKenzie down the other end, believing he had interfered with Neuvirth.
“I knew Simmer was behind me,” said a smiling Gostisbehere, who wrapped up MacKenzie. “I was there for support.”
Weise scored after taking a ridiculous drop pass from rookie Nolan Patrick in front of the net. Patrick had gathered a rebound of a shot taken by Travis Konecny.
“I kind of saw [Weise] when the puck was on my backhand,” Patrick said.
The Panthers (2-3) avoided a shutout when Jamie McGinn scored a power-play goal with 3:50 remaining in the game.
Filppula closed the scoring with an empty-net goal.
Florida controlled the game’s first six minutes, firing seven of the first eight shots, but Neuvirth stood tall.
A couple of power-play opportunities enabled the Flyers to swarm the net and take over play in the second half of the opening period. They carried that into the game-turning second period.
“Sometimes on the power play you don’t get the goal, but you get the momentum,” said Giroux, whose team had 12 of its 26 shots in the first 40 minutes while they had an extra skater.
The Flyers will host Nashville on Thursday in their third game of a five-game homestand. They will be trying to avenge last week’s 6-5 loss in Nashville, a game in which the Predators scored two power-play goals in the final 77 seconds.